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Social Security’s War on Families

A Current Crisis and a Coming Disaster

The war in Iraq has left many casualties; Social Security reform is one of them.  For so long, Democrats surrounded the issue with demagoguery.  And now that the Democrats control Capitol Hill, Republicans seem unwilling to acknowledge, let alone confront, Social Security’s impending financial collapse.

And yet the need to confront the problem has never been greater.  The coming retirement of roughly 78 million baby boomers threatens to wreck the U.S. Treasury and, perhaps, the economy.  Social Security spent $461 billion last year, which made it the largest domestic outlay and a rival of the military budget for biggest federal expense overall.  Despite the efforts of the would-be empire builders, who would like to devote the entire U.S. economy to the military, outlays for Social Security will eventually exceed defense spending.  (At $406 billion last year, Medicare is gaining even faster and will soon outpace both the military and Social Security.)  And Social Security is weakening more than the U.S. economy; it also undermines personal and family responsibility, encouraging early retirement and shifting the duty to care for the elderly to the government.

Social Security is built upon a lie.  The system purports to maintain a trust fund, with “assets” of two trillion dollars in net present-value terms, which is supposed to cover benefits from 2017, when program...

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