"Coming in 2050- America's favorite T-shirt!"

Ron Perry made a very specific, very disagreeable accusation about our american government recently. He said that our current social security program is a ponzi scheme.

For those of you not familiar with nationwide scams, a ponzi scheme is a system set up like a pyramid where people at the bottom are convinced to send money of varying amounts while the people on top do nothing except split and collect the money. It’s illegal in the United States, but it still happens. Most of the time, the people on the bottom are convinced to send the money by being told that they will one day be on the top, sitting back, collecting money.

I don’t know about you, but social security sounds a lot like that to me.

As a young working american, I have felt the looming idea of age on my shoulders. Many older workers tell me to start saving for retirement now, so I can really enjoy myself. Retirement isn’t available like it used to be, they warn. Social security is drying up, they say. When I was five years younger, my sure, usual self would reply, “they’ll fix it! I’m not working this hard to pay for someone else’s retirement and not my own!” But now I’m not so convinced.

Like most people, social security/medicare is the biggest tax deduction I face on pay day. Also, like most 20-something year old workers, I have no current nest egg or the available funds to start building one.  So naturally, I’m more than concerned about how we are going to fix this problem.

But I’m not convinced that social security can be fixed. Our population is aging, but not dying. Families are having an average of 2 less kids per household than they did 100 years ago. There are less people than ever to pay for more people than ever to retire. So what do we do? Should we deny social security to everyone but the poorest? Should we only pay out to those who, at one time, worked for their right to collect?

Nestled intricately in this problem of social security is another alarming fact- young workers (ages 16-24) are now the poorest demographic in America, while elderly americans (65+) are the  most well off, as a whole. Which means that the demographic that will have no social security in the future is also the demographic struggling the most and getting paid less than before (after adjusting for inflation).

Where to now, Mister Ron Perry? President Obama? Who’s going to pay my parents’ way in a few years? My way in 50? For the next 50 years, I will have to work. It’s inevitable. But will I have a light at the end of my tunnel? A promise of ease of living? Or will I have to be a wal-mart greeter to make my meager ends meet?



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