The Blame Game: Part 67

social insecurity cardThis just in from the “You Saw This Coming, Didn’t You?” department:

Will Baby Boomers Bankrupt Social Security?

It’s ripped directly from the web pages of CNBC, and why, you might ask, should we have seen this coming? Because baby boomers get the blame for everything. Our sheer mass makes us a target, and while we are certain that we are not a monolithic group by any means, that doesn’t stop journalists and pundits from placing the blame for everything at our feet.

Social Security will be paying out more than it collects in payroll taxes by 2017. By 2037, Social Security will be able to pay out only 75% of its benefits. Gen Xers are lined up to take shots at us, as though we conspired to create this problem. They seem to enjoy pitting one generation against another, as though that will somehow be a constructive way to solve the problem.

Is it our fault that there are so many of us? No. Our parents (you remember, the Greatest Generation) are to blame. In 1946, the war was over and Americans celebrated by having sex for many years. The result? In no time at all (between 1946 and 1964), love social securitythey had 78 million babies. So they may have had their fun, but in the words of Jimi Hendrix, we’re now the ones with “tire tracks all across our backs.”

While it’s true that Gen Xers have paid higher payroll taxes for most of their working lives, boomers paid in what was asked of us. You can’t blame us for the smaller size of succeeding generations. And remember, with so many of us paying those payroll taxes, there was a lot more money going in than coming out. Like a large health insurance pool, we helped to spread the retirement benefit costs out among the many rather than burden the few.

Keep in mind that with pensions almost extinct, most boomers are going to have to live off what they have saved, and even that isn’t going to take us too far. So we are going to continue to work as long as we can, whether it’s full-time or part-time, and that means we are going to keep paying into the Social Security fund.

Put another way, the fact remains that nothing is certain but death and payroll taxes.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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