Sunday January 13, 2013

In reference to the January 9 editorial entitled "Taxes fair and unfair," I’m impressed this is the first editorial I’ve ever seen that was more than half correct in fact and reasoning.

Of course, we needed to restore the payroll tax to fund Social Security. However, it never was a true investment. It is a tax on the working to support those who no longer work. It has some insurance elements through it’s disability payments.

The first recipients of Social Security never made payments commensurate with the benefits they received, but these benefits were easily funded by an expanding and richer work force.

It is not a Ponzi scheme, but only because it can compel new "investors." A Ponzi scheme with the same power could go on a long time.

I believe more honesty in discussing what Social Security is and isn’t can only help people understand and evaluate the program honestly. Referring to it as an investment on one hand, and claiming credit for reducing payroll taxes on the other, is dishonesty in its worst form.

ALAN THIEL

West Stockbridge


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