Don't Tinker With Social Security, Reinvent It

If one takes a fresh perspective, then the U.S. Social Security retirement program is a really strange idea. We presently raise tax revenues equal to 6% to 7% of the gross domestic product just to make transfers from young people to old people. The program produces nothing, and most of the transfers are not from the rich to the poor (which is one reason the program is so popular). Many of the transfers are between members of the same extended family; for example, my mother receives about $7,600 per year, and my brother and I together pay in around $16,000 per year. It's not a great deal, even for my mother. She would probably get more if it came directly from her sons.

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