Concern About Future of Social Security Inspires Nonsense From New York Times Readers

An insightful comment on a recent op-ed by New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman was restated on the Editor’s blog this evening.  Collin Slattery of New York City, gave a glimpse into what so many young Americans are thinking today about the future of Social Security; that the program will not be there for them:

The sense of doom expressed in one younger reader’s comment about the Social Security system opened an intergenerational conversation about the program’s actuarial predicament.

“I would be fine with seeing my contributions to Social Security and Medicare decline substantially or disappear because I know that the program will not exist for me,” Collin Slattery of New York Citywrote in response to a recent column by Paul Krugman. “My generation will never see one dollar from Social Security. Not one.”

Mr. Slattery reflects a widespread view. Half of all adults younger than the Baby Boom generation believe they will receive no Social Security benefits at all by the time they’re ready to retire, according to a Pew Research Center poll in 2014.

The program’s shortfalls are entirely fixable, Mr. Krugman wrote in “Republicans Against Retirement.”

“No, Social Security does not face a financial crisis; its long-term funding shortfall could easily be closed with modest increases in revenue,” he wrote.

In June of 2015, a T. Rowe Price poll reflected that 60% of Millennials believe this to be the case.

Krugman has been wrong in the past.  Rather than give Mr. Slattery any credence an opinion that is one shared by most of young America, the editor continues by giving examples of how a flock of Times readers helped to quell his concerns…

Eleven readers responded to Mr. Slattery, mostly in an effort to dispel concerns about the program’s sustainability.

“I believed that when I was your age also and yet, here it is 40 years later going strong,” Lori Bell wrote from West Union, Iowa. “A simple raising the cap” on the amount of income taxed “would fix the problem for many years after you retire also.”  First off, when ‘you were his age’ Mrs. Bell, video games and the internet were unheard of and many houses had a total of five television channels.   The world has changed since then, honey.  Second, “a simple raising the cap” won’t solve very much at all. Along with changing the cap, the retirement age must be raised and/or taxes must be raised.  But why bring up the facts like those that will only affect young Americans when you are trying to ‘dispel concerns.’

“Your generation will see much more than one dollar from Social Security,” Scott Mentink of Vashon, Wash., wrote. “Even if nothing were ever done to shore Social Security up, there is enough money coming in to pay” modestly reduced benefits far into the future.

“Modestly reduced benefits!” So Mr. Mentink considers a 25% reduction to be “modestly reduced”.  The same publication that considers today’s nearly 4% market dropupheaval in the markets” allows this quote from this tool to grace it’s blog.  If a 4% drop is “upheaval,” what the hell do you think a 25% drop represents?  But hey Mr. Mentink, what do you care… it’s going to happen ‘far in the future,’ when Collin Slattery and his generation will have to deal with it.

Government data support their arguments. The Congressional Budget Office said in 2010 that imposing the Social Security tax on higher incomes would eliminate shortfalls. Right now, income above about $120,000 is not taxed for Social Security.

And the Social Security Administration projects that taxes will generate enough income to pay around three-quarters of benefits until 2089.  

Sure the Social Security Administration can project whatever they’d like and we should believe them!  Because, I mean, it’s not like they’ve wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer money on computer systems that didn’t work, threw good money after bad, issued checks to dead people or paid for the retirement of Nazi war criminals or anything!   You can trust anything the Social Security Administration says about the financial state of the program even less than you can count on Roger Goodell to conduct a fair investigation.

Wherever Collin Slattery is, I’d like to commend him for standing up for his concerns, and those of many in his generation.   I’d also invite him to sign our petition to opt-out of this mess.  Because people like those 11 New York Times readers will go out of their way to address your concerns about Social Security… as long as they aren’t the ones who won’t see a dime.

-R.J. Renza, Jr.

Take a moment and sign the National Petition to Opt-Out of Social Security. The more signatures we gather, the more pressure we place on Congress and our political leaders.

This week marks the release of my first e-book “How Are You Not Angry Yet: How Social Security is Destroying the Futures, Finances and Hopes of Generations X,Y and Z and How We Can Put and End to it,” which takes on Social Security from the perspective of young America in a visceral and humorous way.  “Angry Yet” breaks down the complex topic of Social Security into a way that most Americans can easily understand and find entertaining and is available here.

Check out my video of how I celebrated Social Security’s 80th Birthday  and you can also follow me on Twitter at


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