Let's Be Honest About Social Security

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Many of the commentators on my articles claim, as does Chris Christie, that Social Security is a safety net. It is not.

I appreciate the comments that readers make on my articles. I respond when I can and incorporate the responses into future articles.

There are some common themes in the comments, and an article is warranted to explain that H.L. Mencken was right: For every complex problem, there's a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. If there were a simple solution to Social Security’s imbalances, Congress would have already fixed it.

Social Security is not a safety net. It is old-age insurance, which provides a hedge against the cost of the unknown. It is not different from auto or home insurance. We do not know how many fires we will have, so we buy home insurance. We have no idea how many meals we will eat at 90, so we need old-age insurance.

When you have a car wreck, the auto insurance does not replace the car. There is a deductible. Likewise, old-age insurance is not designed to be your sole source of income in retirement. In the words of FDR, we have provided average citizens “some measure of protection against poverty-ridden old age.” Keep in mind: “some measure.”