Friday, November 19, 2010

A Lifetime-Wealth Means Test for Social Security?

Underbelly groupies will recall that this forum favors a confiscatory inheritance tax as keystone of the Tea Party program, to help restore right incentives and a proper work ethic among the young: call it the "No More Trust Fund Babies Act of 2011."

In that vein, I've been e-chatting with my friend Mary lately about the nature and purpose of Social Security.  Mary's attitude towards Social Security is, shall we say, dour; the words "Ponzi scheme" have been uttered.  But she is no bozo: she's compassionate and willing to help the poor; she just wants to make sure she is getting the operant conditioning right.  anyway, here's her latest:
Would it be better policy in means testing to factor in opportunity to provide for oneself, so that the worker who earned $1.8 million over his lifetime gets a bigger benefit, other things such as asset values being equal, than the person born into opportunity to do well who made $5 million over his lifetime but who was improvident?  With opportunity should come responsibility.
I love it, and I don't think I've heard of it before.  A bit like Henry George land taxation, where the levy is a function of productive capacity, whether the holder is using it or not.

1 comment:

dilbert dogbert said...

My SS is already means tested.
My check was reduced to 130 from 253 after we sold our over priced house.
It was reduced when I retired from NASA too. I am living high on the hog on that SS check.