Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Government Owes You Nothing - Legally

Structural problem #5 with Social Security is that the government owes you nothing, but you owe it something:
Many Americans believe that Social Security is an ‘‘earned right.’’ That is, because they have paid Social Security taxes they are entitled to receive Social Security benefits. The government encourages this belief by referring to Social Security taxes as ‘‘contributions,’’ as in the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. However, the Supreme Court has ruled, in the case of Flemming v. Nestor, that workers have no legally binding contractual or property right to their Social Security benefits, and those benefits can be changed, cut, or even taken away at any time.
Excerpted from Chapter 17, Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 7th Edition (2009).

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