Fox News and Atlantic Magazine have zero shame. The latter has a major article telling readers that Social Security is “the grandparents stealing from the grandchildren.”
The piece is a cornucopia of misstatements about Social Security and Medicare, most importantly implying that today seniors get some big windfall from the programs and that it somehow comes at the expense of our grandchildren. Both parts of this claim are seriously wrong.
In the case of Social Security, most people retiring in the near future will actually get back from the program roughly the same amount that they paid in, using standard interest rates. Low- and-moderate income people will get back somewhat more, whereas “high earners” (defined as people earning around $75,000 a year) will get back less.
The average value of Medicare benefits will exceed tax payments, but this is due to the high cost of medical care in the United States. While we don’t have better health care outcomes in the United States than in Germany, Canada, or other wealthy countries, we do pay around twice as much per person as these other countries. The difference is the greater price of drugs and medical equipment, the cost of insurance, and the pay of doctors. A serious article would look at how these big actors in the health care industry are stealing from our grandchildren, but not the Atlantic.
The other part of the story is the implication that somehow the Social Security and Medicare received by seniors is limiting our ability to ensure a decent standard of living for our children and grandchildren. This is lunatic land. As the Republicans are showing right now, we are not near any limits in our ability to run larger deficits. We could always impose higher taxes on the rich who have been the big gainers from economic growth over the last four decades, due to their rigging of the economy.
– Center for Economic and Policy Research