Social Security semantics watch: Drum emits a howler!


And the young analysts sob: We’re big fans of Kevin Drum around here, although we’d like to have full control of his topic list.

But uh-oh! On Monday, we had to sit the analysts down and tell them that, when Drum makes a mistake, he makes it a genuine doozy. Having read Drum's post about the economic health of Social Security, the young analysts were crying, quite hard.

As he started, Drum said the AP had “embarrassed itself” in its coverage of the recent trustees’ report. The analysts cheered when they read those words. But as he closed, Drum offered this aside, and the tears started to flow:

DRUM (4/23/12): On a related note, I'm going to annoy a few of my fellow lefties and say that we should stop getting bent out of shape when people respond to the Trustees report by saying that Social Security is "going bankrupt" or "running dry" or some similar formulation. There's a hyperlegalistic sense in which this isn't accurate, but honestly, it would be a helluva dramatic event if the trust fund ran out of money and Social Security suddenly had to slash benefits by 25% in 2033 (see chart above). Referring to this as "bankruptcy" isn't all that big a rhetorical stretch, and everyone on both left and right should put away their fainting couches, ditch all the tired excuses, and get to work on a fix that would involve—say it in unison, folks!—a very modest and phased-in cut in benefits combined with a very modest and phased-in increase in taxes. This isn't a hard problem.
“Annoy!” If Drum could have seen the analysts’ tears, he might have regretted his word-choice.

It would indeed be a very bad thing if the Social Security trust fund ran dry and promised benefits had to be cut. (The trustees now project that this will happen in 2033.) But people have been led to believe, for the past three decades, that Social Security won’t be there at all by the time they reach retirement age. Almost surely, the terms “bankrupt” and "bankruptcy" have played a key role in this disinformation campaign.

Because we’re away from our sprawling campus, we won’t provide any links. But voters have been deeply misinformed about the future of Social Security dating to the 1980s.

This isn’t a hyper-legalistic matter; we're not talking about a minor "rhetoriocal stretch." This is one of the greatest disinformation campaigns of the past fifty years. This campaign should be studied in detail, although orgs like the AP never will, and you know all about our professors!

Of course, when people are led to believe that Social Security won’t survive at all on its present course, they can easily be persuaded to favor extreme “reforms.”

The analysts sobbed after reading Drum’s comment. We did our best to maintain control. But we'll admit that we were surprised, even puzzled, by what we read.

Calling for the fainting couch, we pondered the fate of the world.


  1. No doubt Bob is correct that people have been wrongly told that SS won't survive at all. But, their actions show that they don't really believe that.

    Bob rightly points out that "when people are led to believe that Social Security won’t survive at all on its present course, they can easily be persuaded to favor extreme 'reforms.'" However, I see no great support for extreme reforms. On the contrary, there was great support in Congress and in the public for cutting the SS assessment. This action is a kind of "anti-reform", because it worsens SS solvency, rather than improve it.

  2. The Arizona Republic said the same thing about the trust fund being bankrupt in today's issue:

    The trustees of Social Security and Medicare, led by Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, reported Monday that the federal retirement program will run out of money three years sooner than previously expected.

    “In 2033, incoming revenue and trust fund resources will be insufficient to maintain payment of full benefits,” . Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, said, referring to Social Security. “At that point there will only be enough money to cover about three-fourths of full benefits.”

    “Please, please remember that ‘exhaustion’ is an actuarial term of art and it does not mean there will be no money left to pay any benefits,” Commissioner of Social Security Michael Astrue cautioned. “After 2033, even if congress does nothing there will still be sufficient assets to pay about 75 percent of the current level of benefits.”


  3. That a nominal liberal -- we dare not say "leftist" -- is advocating benefit cuts (apparently, American retirees live too well) speaks for itself. No wonder the press corps regards Democrats with contempt. Professional Dems like Mr. Drum don't even have the balls to defend extremely popular programs from the right-wing.

    And what often goes unmentioned here is that one reason the system will be unable to pay full benefits is that the trustees in past years never contemplated this level of income inequality. Most of the money earned in this country is by people whose incomes exceed the $108,000 SS payroll. And they pay no SS payroll taxes on that income. With a more equitable distribution, the middle and poor would be contributing far more, because their incomes would be higher. But of course that would be communism.

  4. FDR sold the SS progam as insurance paid for by those who get the most benefit, so both payments and taxes phase out at higher incomes.

  5. Here's the money quote, which Somerby somehow misses:

    " . . . honestly, it would be a helluva dramatic event if the trust fund ran out of money and Social Security suddenly had to slash benefits by 25% in 2033."

    1. Yeah, I guess 22 years isn't long enough to prepare just a little for this outcome and raise payroll taxes on people who are, today, far, far richer as as class than they were the last time the SS-system was adjusted, but are paying much less tax. That would to be too unfair!

      Note also here that the professional SS Is Going Bankrupt Crowd, such as the Pete Peterson foundation, somehow managed to miss the financial crisis and the high tech and housing bubbles, which have cost us trillions, but are incontinent with fear (so they claim, anyway) over the fate of SS 20 years from now. Their concern might be more credible if their solution to benefit cuts in 20 wasn't benefit cuts right now.

      Get that? The only way we can avoid cutting benefits in 2033 or 2033 or 3099 is cutting benefits today! How this is supposed to make us feel good is beyond me.

  6. The war against SS has been going on for almost 8 decades. It's imminent demise has been predicted for decades. In 1978, George W. Bush told the Texas Observer that SS would go bankrupt in 10 years. SS is desperately needed by tens of millions of seniors who would be destitute if not for SS. Just raise the SS wage tax cap or eliminate it. The SS wage tax is capped at $110,100; the income above $110,100 is not subject to the SS wage tax. There is no such cap on the Medicare wage tax. All income is subject to the Medicare wage tax. Even Alan Greenspan, of all people, has said that there is no SS crisis and that it can be fixed by any number of tweaks. In 1994, they said that the SS trust fund would run out in 2029. The predictions go up and down due to the changes in our economy. When and if things ever improve, then the SS trust fund depletion date my be moved further into the future. SS should not be cut, the retirement age has already been raised to 67. SS should be strengthened not weakened.

  7. Rick Santorum told us during his campaign that Defense should not be cut in that it comprises only 17 percent of the average tax dollar. This strikes me as dubious, but there was an unconvincing retort to his claim, I believe on Salon. That's pretty much the total I've seen in anything in the press on the issue of our massive outlays for Defense. Can anyone honestly deny that Defense has been the true third rail in American Politics?
    Then of course, there is Rachel Maddow's book, but Aristotle must have written somewhere that "Tomes of the Cable Lesbian are there to disregard" so we won't be hearing anything about "Drift." But wasn't Drum point perhaps that people of means who don't really need SS shouldn't be getting it? Is this a fair point? I would agree with the Daily Howler that he states it very badly.

    1. It would be fascinating, in an alternative universe, to learn whether the likes of David in Cal, and all the wingers who started life as trust fund brats -- Steve Forbes, Rupert Murdoch, the Kochs, Mitt Romney, the Shrubs, Donald Trump, David Scaife Mellon, Grover Norquist, etc. -- would finally be satisfied and find personal happiness and gracefully retire from public view, if we did away completely with the welfare state and reverted to a 19th century or third-world model -- debt prisons, indentured servitude, semi-feudal social organization, the destitute expiring on the streets, unrestricted rights to pollute, etc.

      Or would there always be something we still have to get rid of, to secure them the personal happiness which their wealth apparently can't buy them?

    2. No, actually, means testing SS is not Drum's point. I'm also mostly a big fan of his, but he's got an extremely weird blind spot about SS and Medicare benefits.

      He's apparently never actually known anybody who doesn't have a nice pension and/or investments to fund most of their retirement but must depend utterly on the very meager SS benefits to survive. He also doesn't know anybody personally who works with their body, so raising the retirement age is AOK with him, too.

    3. In the time when we had work houses and a feudal society the Catholic church provided for indigents and everyone tithed and paid the church for indulgences and dispensations and to approve marriages and conduct other services. One way or another people have always paid for the poor.

  8. Bob:

    It would be bad enough if, as you emphasize, Kevin Drum were merely encouraging the popular, politically-engineered confusion of a reduction in promised benefits with the end of all benefits. But his sin against the truth here is far worse than that.

    Social Security cannot 'go bankrupt', any more than can any other part of the federal government. The federal government of the United States is not in the position of a Greece or Spanish government, or of a U.S. state, county or city government.

    The U.S. federal government can never 'run out' of the currency it issues. Indeed, despite conventional usage, it does not 'save' in this currency, nor 'borrow' in it. It can never have 'too few' or 'too many' dollars, because it does not 'have' dollars at all.

    What it does with dollars is spend them into existence, and tax them out of existence, and, for various functional reasons, swap them for other dollar denominated assets, mainly Treasury securities.

    The only true constraint on Social Security spending, now or in the future, is the same one that all federal government spending always faces: Do the real resources exist, such that the economy can respond to that level of spending by supplying the desired goods and services. To the extent that it cannot, prices will instead rise.

    That and that alone constitutes the real economic limit on Social Security (and all other federal) spending now, or in the future. So-called financial constraints, such as those the Trustees are charged with monitoring, are purely political and voluntary.

    A smart progressive movement would insist on removing the veil of illusion that allows this argument about the so-called 'bankruptcy' of Social Security in particular, or of the federal government in general, from getting off the ground.

    Even Krugman is not there yet Bob. You will have to look farther afield. I suggest starting with James K. Galbraith. This interview with Ezra Klein (who is generally clueless but at least gave JKG a platform on this occasion) is a gentle introduction:

  9. You're big fans of Kevin Drum? I just threw up in my mouth a little. Drum is consistently and reliably wrong on issue after issue where there is a right wing talking point that can somehow be embraced as "centrist" (where in the current political climate anything that can be embraced as centrist is almost certainly stuff that was right wing lunatic in the 80's and 90's.)

    Social Security is not in trouble. The best way to "fix" Social Security is to grow the economy in a way that benefits the working and middle class, followed by raising the income limits to which the Social Security tax applies. If the Trust Fund "runs dry", so what? Social Security will still have current cash flow at that time sufficient to pay 75 percent of scheduled benefits (which would be substantially higher than current benefits.) And one could always go back to a "pay as you go" level of taxation at that time such that current receipts would be equal to current expenses, and frankly, given the way the Trust Fund has been used to mask the size of the deficits and to fund tax cuts for the wealthy, that may not be such a bad idea.

    Fans of Kevin Drum? The mind boggles.

    1. "Drum is consistently and reliably wrong on issue after issue where there is a right wing talking point that can somehow be embraced as "centrist"

      That's actually a bald-faced lie.

    2. It may not be exactly correct, but neither is it a "lie." Drum has been pretty horrific, from his support of the Iraq invasion, to his insistence that Obama was doing just swell, and threatening to scream at people who said otherwise, to his general self-described tone of "squishy lefty." Right wing versions of Drum aren't tolerated; on the left, people like Drum are embraced, even given impassioned words of support, like these of yours. That Kevin Drum is considered a "major" "lefty" "pundit" goes far in explaining why leftism in the United States is such a sad farce.

    3. And a week or so ago he demonstrated that he is clueless about hypothesis testing in behavioral research and refused to backtrack after patient explanation by experts in the comments. I lost respect for him after that stunningly ignorant exchange.

  10. I'm an actuary (although not a specialist in pensions) so I can provide an actuary's POV. An actuary's most important job is to make sure that an organization that sold insurance knows its future obligations so it will amass enough assets to pay all its claims.

    Insurance organizations are required to be fully funded. That is, they must have enough assets right now to pay all accrued obligations to date. SS was never intended to be fully funded. By normal standards, SS is insolvent by many trillions of dollars. Instead, SS adopted a weaker standard. SS would be considered "solvent" if they had enough assets so that future projection showed that they would remain solvent for 75 years with no changes in the program. For many years SS met that standard, but not now. That solvency standard today would require that the projection show that the Trust Fund will not be exhausted before 2087. This is particularly vexing to actuaries, whose raison d'etre is being sure that SS will be able to fulfill its obligations.

    Another problem is that actuarial projections of SS have been financially optimistic. They do not fully reflect the ongoing improvement in mortality. I'm not sure if it's a problem today, but at one time I believe the SS actuaries assumed that wage inflation would match the cost of living inflation that applies to benefits. Unfortunately, in recent years, wage inflation has been less than CPI inflation.

    SS solvency got a big boost when women routinely came into the work force. A married women who earns less than her husband might receive only slightly more benefits from her own SS than as a wife or widow. But, as an employee, she paid fully into the system. By now, women are fully into the system, so this one-time boost to SS solvency is over.

    As the years go forward we can expect generally more pessimistic estimates of SS solvency.

    1. Be that as it may, the Big Dramatic Problem is to choose a course that keeps 100% of promised benefits rather than one that... keeps 75% of current benefits. Of all the short and long term problems facing America, this one is WAY too high on the pecking order of the official pundit consensus. And the only reason it occupies such a high rank is because it enables punditry-by-the-numbers: Republicans don't want to increase taxes, Democrats don't want to reduce benefits, why can't we all work together like when Tip O'Neill would have a pint foreign Dutch Reagan, alack alas, a Strong Centrist would be able to do it, vote Bloomberg/Friedman Inifinity.

    2. And it shows you how far we've fallen when "keep benefits intact" is cast as the extreme left position.

    3. And for the nth time, David in Cal, you apply the rules of a pension plan -- which SS is NOT and never intended to be - to SS, and on that ridiculous basis declare SS insolvent.

      A program which relies on the future earnings of American workers is about as reliable as any income source could possibly be. Far more so, certainly, that a private pension which depends on the soundness of the parent company or speculative investments.

      Which only goes to prove, once again, that you are not intellectually honest and have no interest in the truth. It doesn't get much more despicable.

    4. Love the pious talk about "future obligations" and ins companies. Three letters. AIG. We got the money for them....literally, overnight, simply because the Sec of the Treasury said "we have to have it now". Fuck them all....and everyone that looks like them. They will do what they want. George Carlin said it best in less than 4 minutes:

    5. D in C - "Insurance companies are required to be fully funded", [like AIG...] - I assume that they don't keep all those funds in an FDIC bank account or under a mattress. They have investments, which could go south, and I assume would also include US treasury bonds- the same type of obligation held in the social security trust fund. AC

  11. Never fear, David. Your Republican buddies also have a fix for that dread "improved mortality" crisis as well. First, oppose national health care so million have no access to medical care, then turn Medicare into a voucher program.

    They'll be dropping like flies and that alone should save Social Security. Heck, it might even make it unnecessary, since no one will live long enough to collect it.

  12. There are various ways to look at SS, and all of them have some validity. My preference (as a citizen, not as an actuary) is to look at the overall financial problems of all levels of government.

    We could fix SS without cutting benfits by raising assessments by, say, 33%. We could fix the federal budget deficit by raising taxes by 50%. California could balance its budget by raising income taxes and sales taxes by, perhaps 20% - 30%. However, four issues arise:

    1. If we do this, people will be considerably poorer. Is that OK?

    2. The extra costs to business will make America even more uncompetitive in the international market. How much of our business will move overseas?

    3. Does the political will exist for such big tax increases?

    4. Is it fair to impoverish private workers, when government workers get considerably more generous pay and benefits?

    1. Or:

      5. Should we continue to subsidize private employers who provide no pension benefits for their employees?

    2. Joel, I based that on a comment above by Romberry (which I think I've also seen elsewhere): "If the Trust Fund "runs dry", so what? Social Security will still have current cash flow at that time sufficient to pay 75 percent of scheduled benefits."

      If income to SS would cover 75% of scheduled benefits, then a 33% increase in SS income would be needed to cover 100% of scheduled benefits (because 100% = 133% of 75%.)

      BTW the situation is actually worse than this, because the shortfall would continue to grow. A 33% increase in assessments would be enough to pay full benefits at the time when the Trust Fund runs out of money. However, more increases would be needed subsequently.

    3. And more of the usual sophistry, from David in Cal.

      The main contributors to the current deficit are

      1) the Bush tax cuts,

      2) reduced tax revenue, thanks to high unemployment, which David in Cal rather remarkably wants to compound with large budget cuts -- he argues that such cuts will safeguard his position as a creditor, at the expense of people who still work for a living, and

      3) higher automatic government payments, such as good stamps, thanks to the ongoing depression. Short of making the poor starve, there is no way around this one. Note, for example, that most of Medicaid goes to the disabled and children.

      Fix the economy, and that will go a very long way to reducing deficits.

      As for SS, the shortfall is a fraction of 1% of GDP, in a country with the lowest tax rates, and the greatest concentration of wealth, in the industrialized world. If we can't fix that, we're a sorry excuse for a civilized country.

      If being tribal is despising the likes of David in Cal, then I gladly accept the challenge.

    4. Let's take the intentionally deceptive language of DinC, and apply it to an area other than social program.

      Over the next ten years, the U.S. faces a $7 trillion dollar unfunded liability. It's called the "defense budget". We don't have the money now, and we won't have it in the next 10 years, without either large tax increases or large budget cuts.

      Funny, isn't it, how this question never arises among the DinC's. Only social spending poses a grave danger to the republic. Somehow, the dollars that feed people are tainted. The dollars that kill people aren't.

      Then again, the IRS estimates it loses $450 billion a year through tax evasion, almost all of it upper-income, and that doesn't include legal loopholes like oil & gas preferences and the carried interest deduction (15% marginal rates for billionaires), which are worth an additional few hundred billion. So how we look there first, DiC?

  13. "We could fix SS without cutting benfits by raising assessments by, say, 33%."

    We could. Or we could fix SS without cutting benefits by raising assessments by much less. The figure I've read is one half of one tenth of one percent per year, each year. Why did you choose 33%? Is that just to make it sound scary?

    1. Joel, somehow my resonse to your post appears above it. Sorry for the bad location.

  14. How about this, David in Cal?

    Instead of either raising taxes or cutting benefits, we just institute single-payer health insurance, like every other industrial nation in the world, along the lines of what they have in Canada, France or Germany, with similar pay schedules. Since those folks live longer they we do, it's unlikely that we'll start dropping like flies, murdered by socialized medicine.

    And magically, the budget deficit disappears. But, despite the fact that you yourself are currently enjoying socialized medicine -- if in fact you're the retired person you claim to be -- you're still not willing to do what, are you?

    1. It's true that the countries you mentioned have a single-payer systems and less expensive medical care. However, the single payer structure isn't the reason those systems cost less.

      We know this, because we already have a single payer system for people over 65. Medicare provides pretty good coverage, but it costs a fortune.

    2. You really have no shame, do you, DiC?

      Of course Medicare costs a fortune: the U.S. is prohibited by law from negotiating drug prices (your party insisted on that provision), the system is rigged on top of a wildly inefficient and self-serving for-profit medical care delivery system, and any attempt to rationalize health care delivery is demonized by your party as "death panels". The fact that the better part of Medicare costs are incurred during the last 4-months of life is something the private enterprise system and Republicans love too much to reform.

    3. Cite credible sources showing that Medicare is more expensive than private insurance, ya fuckin' maroon.

  15. Of f the top of my head, fixes:

    No more medical school loans. Doctors get an “MD Bill of Rights”, government pays tuition, doctor serves a term, military, Public Health Service, rural communities, etc. Doctors do not start their careers with ruinous debt.

    No more medical tort cases. A government board reviews malpractice cases and takes corrective action. This eliminates the problem of local medical boards allowing repeat offenders to continue harming people, gets rid of lawsuits, and gets rid of malpractice insurance premiums in one fell swoop.

    Treat the person, not the fee schedule. Simplify payment, and allow preventive medicine.

    Single payer government insurance, with the government setting prices for procedures and drugs by negotiation and revue of true costs.

    Set up regional health centers with full capabilities. We don’t need fully equipped clinics in every community. We have computers and helicopters now. Use them.

    Computerize all records.

    Affordable healthcare guidelines such as the 80% rule. Strict limits on executive compensation and bonuses.

  16. DinC never mentions raising or eliminating the SS wage tax cap which is currently capped at $110,100. That alone would keep SS fully funded for another 75 years. Medicare is expensive because our whole profit driven health care system is overpriced. Medicare is expensive? Well guess what, private insurance premiums are expensive, their costs skyrocket almost monthly because private health insurance CEOs must get their multimillion dollar salaries and huge gold plated diamond encrusted retirement parachutes. Our health care system is so expensive that we have 50 million uninsured who cannot afford health insurance premiums. In the other advanced countries with universal health care, costs can be contained because they do not have for profit health insurance companies paying top executives millions of dollars per year. Their drug costs are much lower than ours because the governments negotiate with the drug companies for cheaper prices. Medicare is forbidden from doing that but the VA is allowed to negotiate with the drug companies for lower prices. If we had Medicare for all and allowed Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies for cheaper prices and allowed Medicare to buy drugs in bulk, then costs could be significantly lowered. Medicare does not have to pay top executives millions, it does not have advertising costs and its overall administrative costs are much lower than private for-profit health insurance companies.

  17. That's a nice set of suggestions, gravymeister. Medical malpractice is expensive, not only because of the direct cost but because of the defensive medicine it encourages. I've seen estimates that a very substantial portion of medical work is solely for the purpose to defending potential lawsuits. Ironically, ObamaCare actually makes it more difficult for a state to reform its medical malpractice system. That's because Tort Lawyers helped draft the bill.

    IMHO our current (pre-Obamacare) insurance structure of medical care stinks. It grew out of 1940's wage controls, because employees could offer medical imsurance to their employees in lieu of wage increases. The system expanded due to favorable tax treatment. First dollar medical coverage is tax-deductible to the employer, but not taxible to the employee.

    If I had the power to start all over, I'd encourage a system that provided coverage for catastrophic claims, but left most people to pay their own ordinary medical costs. (Of course, there would have to be some provision for poor people.) The actual system encourages wasteful spending by doctor, patient, etc.

    The "solution" to wasteful spending is that medical insurance claims people wind up controlling a big piece of how medical care is delivered. I've had claims people work for me, and I'd rather have the doctor and patient make the decisions. However, if the insurance company is paying the bills, it's only appropriate that their rep be involved. Doctors also spend enormous amounts of time trying to get approval from claims people.

    In my ideal system, the government wouldn't need to solve the problem. IMHO if medical care weren't covered by insurance or by the government, then private industry would have brought down the price and brought up the quality. A good example is LASEK surgery, which isn't covered by private insurance or by Medicare. I paid $5000 to have LASIK done in both eyes 25 years ago. Today, I think it's available for around $1000, and the machines are better.

    Unfortunately, my dream of a system where we pay our own costs (up to a substantial amount) is dead. There's no way to get there from here. It's now virtually unthinkable that we should each pay our own medical bills.

    And, the dream of single-payer is probably dead, unless we're lucky enough to see ObamaCare ruled unconstitutional or overturned. We're basically stuck with ObamaCare, which is a particularly bad approach to providing medical care.

  18. Let's see here. The non-system we currently employ has us paying twice as much as other developed nations, for identical outcomes to what they achieve. But here you are talking about how "lucky" we would be should the hyper-partisan conservative bloc on the SC overturn the only major legislative attempt to improve that situation in history. And to disguise the idiocy of that, you claim you'd just loooooove to see single payer enacted, but apparently, single payer can't be enacted unless Romney-Obamacare is repealed or otherwise struck down first -- you can't transition to single payer from there, for some unknown reason. In the meantime, we should just get rid of it and suffer -- literally -- with what we've got.

    Your troll fangs are showing even more than usual. Might want to see a dentist about getting them filed down.

  19. I never got why Somerby likes Drum. Drum has sucked up a storm for years, letting out such whoppers like "Poverty can never be solved, so we shouldn't do shit for the poor" when he isn't whining about his word processor.

    He's not even a liberal and he's making poor Mother Jones turn in her grave.

  20. Romney/Obamacare is complicated precisely because it attempts to do a workaround the only system that makes sense fiscally and morally. Know what would have been less complicated and would also pass constitutional muster? Change the date of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 0.

    1. The problem is that people who have insurance through work now don't want to give it up for an "untested" government-run system, because they fear DMV-like service waiting among crowds. They don't want to change what they have and are especially unmotivated to do it by the idea that it will help the greater good. The logic is, as usual, "I worked hard for X, so if you don't have X, work harder, and don't ask me for help.". Otherwise known as "the reason why Republicans are Republicans."

  21. It's a very sad day when a liberal is persuaded to accept not an unwanted truth, but complete propaganda. Social Security only requires a couple minor tweaks to remain healthy. A couple of examples are to raise the amount of income that is subject to Social Security from about $106,000 to $250,000, and to slightly increase the employer/employee contribution to Social Security taxes. Of course, employers are unhappy with the current low rate of Social Security tax, and consider any contribution to the protection of retired employees to high. The top of their heads nearly explode when anyone mentions raising the Social Security tax by as little as two percent, because the business community's expectation is zero.

    According to one report Switzerland has the best retirement insurance program. It is a combination of mandated employee/employer contribution combined with a voluntary contribution that is protected from taxation. As opposed to the U.S. political climate that considers clandestine manipulation of the public to accept a dysfunctional retirement insurance program, Switzerland uses logic, reason and reality upon which to base such a program.

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