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The Social Security Time Bomb
By Edward A, Sprague
Economist Paul Samuelson once referred to the
Long-term imbalances in social security financing
social security system as a perpetual Ponzi game,
have been foreseen for years, But now, again, there are
Those in the work force would willingly contribute
two fuses on the social security time bomb - short
mushrooming sums to the support of the disabled
and long, Both must be defused, Furthermore, we
and retired in the expectation that they will get'their
can't be complacent about the 21st century just be-
share - and, hopefull~ a lot more than their share of
cause it's still a long way off, The most sensible and
past contributions - in future benefits, Samuelson
nonexplosive steps to solve the long-term problem
was not troubled by this, having faith in the con-
will have to be initiated within this decade,
tinued real growth of the economy to justify these
expectations, In looking at the well-advertised prob-
lems of social securit~ one might conclude that
Th t bl
e a e on page capsu es m e SImp es man-
Samuelson's descnptIon was accurate, but that the
t l ' k P
ner possIble the relatIvely gnm outlook for the socIal
sys em WI en up Jus 1 e onZI- uste ,
secunty system over the next few years. It shows the
appen, n ac, 1 no mg IS one to.
' t '
as a percen ge 0 paymen ou go urmg a year
not ~mprove SWlftl~ It WIll happen quIte soon - .
for OASDI ill and the total, The ill fund is much
speclficall~ between July and November, 1982 - for
th Old A
d It '
smaller, of course, so that the relatIvely comfortable
urvlvors nsurance un.
asset coverage m that fund durmg the penod
lIkely to happen that soon because bo