No facts? No problem for Social Security opponents

Robert Samuelson

Mustache aficionado Robert Samuelson pushed some voodoo economics about Social Security in his latest column for the Washington Post – and now he (along with the Washington Post) is receiving some well-deserved ridicule for it.

At least four different experts – including Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman – have stepped up to refute his claims and remind us why it’s nothing but a scare tactic.

From Krugman’s critique:

Robert Samuelson, who pulls out, for the 7 millionth time, the old Social Security bait and switch. Here’s how it works: to make the quite mild financial shortfall of Social Security seem apocalyptic, the writer starts out by talking about Social Security, then starts using numbers that combine SS with the health care programs — programs that are very different in conception, financing, and solutions.

And then the writer ends by demanding that we cut Social Security, as opposed to addressing health care costs.

Krugman is spot on – and the graph below shows why. Social Security costs are projected to remain relatively flat as a percentage of GDP through 2082, rising by ~ 1% and then leveling off.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other U.S. spending

Paul Krugman’s column is worth a read, find it here. Read more about Social Security’s long-term financing here.

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