THE BLOG
12/02/2010 06:28 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Simpson's Program, Not Social Security, Victimizes the Young

Ruben Navarrette, Jr., a CNN contributor, reports today that his former teacher, Alan Simpson, taught that "For too long younger workers have been taken apart" by Social Security because they do not vote in adequate numbers. In the Simpson view, Social Security is a "massive intergenerational transfer of wealth... Every generation pays for the preceding one."

What a shocker! Does he really mean to say that, in our working years, we help pay for the modest Social Security benefits received by the parents who fed, clothed, educated and housed us? Further, does the Senator assert that we might be helping sustain our grandparents who did the same for our parents? And, does he assert that when we get to retirement, the young people will help pay for us as we paid for our predecessors? What perfidy. What selfishness. What a rip off. No wonder he calls seniors "greedy geezers."

Do Senator Simpson and Mr. Navarrette know that, from the moment a child is born, Social Security insures her/him against the loss of a working parent's income by death or disablement? Do they know that Social Security protects parents against the loss of a mate's earned income when there are surviving children? That such protection is equivalent to almost half a million dollars of insurance on average? That millions of children and parents have received such survivor and disability benefits?

So far, please notice, the beneficiary is not a geezer and probably not greedy, just in circumstances that usually make them needy.

Now for the Simpson cure. It would "save" billions by reducing the benefits of Social Security retirees -- are you ready for this? -- who are now young. The younger they are now, the more their benefits would be reduced. That's the real world effect of raising retirement age by a month periodically. Even worse, it would raise the age of earliest eligibility. That means that people who have worked for extended periods and contributed to Social Security for years would lose their benefits should they die between the current age of earliest entitlement, 62, and the new higher age.

Former Senator Simpson repeatedly says, "I'm not a numbers man." And he constantly proves it. Mr. Navarrette seems to have learned the Simpson lesson and analysis. Probably too well.