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Social Security falling behind inflation … as usual

Social Security falling behind inflation … as usual

Here are a few thoughts for Social Security retirees – current and future.  Recipients will be getting letters telling them of the increased monthly payment for next year.  It will be barely enough to buy one dinner at a nice restaurant – although not enough for appetizers and a glass of wine in an upscale eatery.

Social Security is not charity, it is an investment of sorts – a forced investment, however.  If it were not forced, it would not exist since it is a very, very, very bad investment.  The all-important ROI (Return on Investment) is abysmal.  In fact, there is no return as normally calculated.  Those who are currently on Social Security have lost money in terms of buying power.  What you receive is not worth what you put in.  The dollar you contributed way back when had a lot more buying power than the dollar you took out.

One of the main reasons had been the growth of the economy and those occasional run-ups in the costs of everything –inflation has robbed those on Social Security of profits.  The monthly payment to retirees is not a livable wage – not even close.  Social Security recipients are living in the same grim fate suffered by so many blacks on generational welfare in our segregated communities – trapped in a federal government scam.

Even in the short run, Social Security recipients are losing.  The current increase for 2024 is 2.9 percent.  The current inflation rate is 4.7 percent.  The amount one receives in 2024 has less buying power than the amount received in 2023.

That may not seem like a huge difference, but you need to calculate the current increase against the trend for the past years. Social Security consistently falls behind the real cost-of-living every year.  The impact is cumulative.

In 2021 the Social Security increase was 1.3 percent with an inflation rate of 4.7 percent.  In 2022 the increase was 5.9 percent against an inflation rate of 8.0 percent.

Uncle Sam calls the increases cost of living adjustments (COLAs). That is just not true.  Social Security never increases to meet the cost of living. Retirees lose money every year. 

Even worse.  The money a retiree gets in January of 2024 is computed on the cost of living in 2023. That is the amount the retiree will receive each month in 2024 even as inflation pushes up costs each future month.  In other words, with each passing month the retiree will lose more purchasing power.

Another reason that Social Security is a losing investment is that there is no hope of reclaiming losses.  Stocks may go down, but they can go up.  A stock market investor may be losing money at one time and earning profits in the future.  It is a gamble.  Social Security is not a gamble.  The recipient is a loser all the time.  The longer you are on it, the more you lose.

Social Security as an investment has another problem.  You do not own the income you earned.  If a Social Security recipient dies the spouse can claim a portion of the monthly payment.  However, nothing is available for children.  Other investments become part of the estate.

Although the term is used, Social Security is not a Trust Fund.  There is no pool of money to back the investment.  It gets paid like any other expense of government.  The money is appropriated from tax or borrowed income.  Social Security does not operate like an annuity.  There is nothing to back the money put in beyond the willingness and ability of the federal government to pay out some arbitrary amount each year – and they are never appropriate enough to cover increasing costs. Stocks, bonds, gold and silver are all better investments in the long run.

If President Roosevelt had created a market-based investment plan for Social Security, the average recipient would be receiving up to ten times the monthly return than they are getting today.  If you are a retiree, just multiply your monthly Social Security by 10 and see what a GOOD investment would have gotten you – and such a market-based retirement plan would take into consideration downturns in the economy.

In many ways, Social Security is worse than welfare.  Those eligible for welfare can cobble together income payment and benefits exceeding the average monthly Social Security check.  Many Social Security retirees supplement their Social Security income with welfare benefits.  They have to.

At the current rate of retirements and the continuing need to provide so-called COLA increases – bad as they are – Social Security is unsustainable.  That means at some time in the future, new retirees will have their Return on Investment reduced even further or the program will not be available to anyone.  There are already proposals to reduce the future benefits for those under 50 years old – a later retirement age and decreasing COLAs.

The best you can say about that Social Security check that arrives each month from Uncle Sam is that it is better than nothing – but not a lot better.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank Stetson

    Let’s get this right. Because Horist has it way wrong.

    Social Security is designed to be a safety net, nothing more. Horist wants to burn it down and turn it into a investment fund and shower you will dollars. Bullshit. That’s what these Republicans said about pensions and when we moved to self-managed 401ks, America lost. Sure, some, like me, made out OK. But many lost and would have been wealthier on the pension.

    Now he’s doing it again, but this time he wants you to bet your safety net.

    He lies.

    LIE #1 “The money is appropriated from tax or borrowed income.”
    Social Security funds are held in special Tbills; payouts are not from tax or borrowed income; that’s how Medicare is funded and that, IMO, is a mistake.

    LIE #2 “ Many Social Security retirees supplement their Social Security income with welfare benefits.”
    This may be true, but SS pays out above the poverty level, so just can’t see “MANY.”

    LIE #3 “In fact, there is no return as normally calculated.”
    Actually, if you live long, you will take out more than you put in. Much more.

    LIE #4 “ trapped in a federal government scam.” It’s not a scam, it’s not an investment fund, it’s a safety net that has ALWAYS paid, but always at a substinance level just above the poverty line. That’s the planned design of the program. It’s just dumb shits that expect to live well off it.

    LIE #5 “Even in the short run, Social Security recipients are losing.”
    If you live long, you will take out more than you put in. That’s called profit or interest.

    LIE #6 “Retirees lose money every year.”
    Every cent you put in is in there, nothing is lost. You may be able to garner more profit elsewhere BUT if you live long enough, you will take out more than you put in and that’s called profit or interest, you be the judge.

    LIE #7 “If President Roosevelt had created a market-based investment plan for Social Security, the average recipient would be receiving up to ten times the monthly return than they are getting today.”

    There is absolutely no way the Federal Government can manage that plan without massively picking winners and losers giving Horist something real to bitch about. If we make it self-managed, many will lose, a number will go bust. At least the SS safety net gets you above the poverty level.

    LIE #8 “ If you are a retiree, just multiply your monthly Social Security by 10 and see what a GOOD investment would have gotten you.”

    OK, what do you think your chances of reaping profits at ten times the poverty rate? Horist is promising you an extra $136,000 a year if you just listen to him lie.

    • Q

      frank Stetson, you’re still dumber than a box of rocks!! Freaking commie bastard!

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson …You know not of what you speak. A couple quick points. There is no Social Security Trust Fund that operates like an annuity. it must be replenished from the budget process — taxes or borrowing. You take out more dollars, but it is worth less buying power than the dollars you put in. You lose wealth. A market value Social Security plan is a hybrid of private investment and public oversight with protections against catastrophic loses. You need to study the actual proposals. Not ever recipient gets the same amount, some fall below the poverty line … as do surviving spouses. With each uptick in inflation, retirees lose money (purchasing power). The monthly SS check buys less this month than last. While you imply that government “manages” the plan by picking winners and losers. That (1) proves governments is miserably at picking winners. And (2) Uncle Sam does not manage SS as an investment because it does not rely on ROI, but on taxes and borrowing to keep it afloat. While you express my facts as Lies, I could have answered your responses as “Stupidity 1″, Stupidity 2,” etc. And I forgot to mention in the commentary that SS punishes you for working. In other words, if you remain productive, you can lose all or some of your SS money.

      • frank Stetson

        Mr. Horist: before I attempt to respond to your deleterious delirious delusions, how about a simple sniff test of his bottom line: Do you really believe: “If you are a retiree, just multiply your monthly Social Security by 10 and see what a GOOD investment would have gotten you – and such a market-based retirement plan would take into consideration downturns in the economy.” If you do believe this, then I ask why aren’t you already rich? I mean Horist PROMISES he can turn every dollar into ten.

        The current average payout is: $21,384 and Horist says, with no work, no risk, you can have $210,384 instead. Do you believe him?

        The current Social Security Trust Fund is about $2.9T, Horist says he can make it $29T. Do you believe him?
        If Horist is right, then Social Security is the greatest mistake ever perpetrated upon America. So are savings accounts, CD’s and any other low risk investment.

        Every major country parks its money in the EXACT same place as Social Security, although not with the special terms that SS gets. They do it because it’s the best profit for the least amount of risk. Are they wrong too? Or is Horist. Do you think if Horist could get them ten times that, that he wouldn’t be rich by showing them how? Because clearly, they do not know.

        Horist is a financial fool and failed economist, I am guessing, with no formal training.

        LIE A: “. There is no Social Security Trust Fund that operates like an annuity.”
        From a recent fund trusties report: “At the end of 2022, OASI asset reserves were $2.7 trillion, DI asset reserves were $118.0 billion, HI asset reserves were $196.6 billion, and SMI asset reserves were $212.6 billion. The OASI Trust Fund asset reserves declined in 2022 while DI, HI, and SMI Trust Fund asset reserves increased.”

        These are real assets, they are cut away from the US budget, and held in special issue T-bills financing our debt and acting like a combination of annuity and insurance. Cool. They make between 2-3% in interest (profit), the going rate for the SAFEST investment in the world.

        LIE B: “it must be replenished from the budget process — taxes or borrowing.”
        OK, on this one he’s half right, half wrong, but always off base. SS is NOT replenished from the budget process. He’s just whack. It’s replenished BY LAW. And right now, it’s not even being replenished, in most recent years, we are running a deficit. I will let Horist look that one up: deficit.

        BUT — the process is sort of a “pay it forward,” but in reverse. Let’s go Twilight Zone for a moment: imagine if you will, that’s there’s a $2.9T SS Trust Fund held in T-bills BUT we are still collecting SS taxes paid by you and your employer at just over 6% of your salary both, for a total of 12%. We do that for anyone who works until the day they die, I think. Like I said, if you told your employer, I’ll just take the 6%, you know how that will end, so it’s a good deal for matching. Same reason I scrimped to put the max that would be matched by my employer — never toss free money. And instantly, every dollar you deposit starts at 100% profit from your employer — seems like pretty good ROI to me. After that, your 6%, plus your 100% profit earn 2-3% per year. Horist ignores it because it goes into the communal fund and he does not understand that.

        I’m going to stop with his spurious spew frequently of lies, for now. Suffice it to say he does not understand how SS is designed and he foolishly believes he can increase the return ten times without risk. It’s the same bullshit they used to convince America to move from pensions to 401ks and the returns went DOWN, not up. That’s right, it can easily be proven, even with their failure in that recession, that professional money managers perform better than individuals, myself included.

        Don’t be fooled again by these financial fools suggesting that you would be better off if you gamble your safety net.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … WoW! Soooo much writing on SS as if you know anything about it. You are a good example for “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” You are writing a book here. It should be titled, “Everything I do not know about Social Security.” You seem to fancy yourself as some sort of authority on economics ….LMAO. I am not going to waste my time rebutting your manifest stupidity or willful ignorance. but not because I cannot but because I know that besides you and a couple others, no one is reading this crap. You audience is as imaginary as the Larry Horist you obsessively address and insult. You do not seem to have a life outside of PBP, but I do. Sorry Frank, you are not my obsession. To me, you are just a pathetic old person hoping for a little attention from the outside world.

      • Frank stetson

        Horist: u said absolutely nothing to refute my response which is laden of facts proving you wrong. You spent 100% of your response on personality that you envision in your mind and personal attack.

        You are right, readers can decide. Especially as to how you really don’t understand the mechanics of SS, it’s goal, or anything.

        And you alternative promising a 10 times benefit is a LIE.

        BUSTED, but you did have a chance.

  2. frank Stetson

    LIE #1 “The money is appropriated from tax or borrowed income.”

    Social Security funds are held in special Tbills; payouts are not from tax or borrowed income; that’s how Medicare is funded and that, IMO, is a mistake.

    From the Social Security website: “The Social Security trust funds hold money not needed in the current year to pay benefits and administrative costs and, by law, invest it in special Treasury bonds that are guaranteed by the U.S. Government. A market rate of interest is paid to the trust funds on the bonds they hold, and when those bonds reach maturity or are needed to pay benefits, the Treasury redeems them.”

    “By law, income to the trust funds must be invested, on a daily basis, in securities guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the Federal government. All securities held by the trust funds are “special issues” of the United States Treasury. Such securities are available only to the trust funds.

    In the past, the trust funds have held marketable Treasury securities, which are available to the general public. Unlike marketable securities, special issues can be redeemed at any time at face value. Marketable securities are subject to the forces of the open market and may suffer a loss, or enjoy a gain, if sold before maturity. Investment in special issues gives the trust funds the same flexibility as holding cash.”

    Here’s a handy web page to see the interest which, over the past ten years, has been 2.3% to 3.6%. Before Horist yells he can make more… remember, this is the safest bet in the world, the funds support America’s debt which funds everything, and, most important, they are immediately redeemable at an time. By law. And special, just for us. And a safety net, you don’t bet the farm on your safety net. And also, T-bills are where most other countries park their cash which is why America has the strong, but more important, resilient economy in the world. Much of that thanks to you and Social Security.

    By law, SS can never pull from the General Fund without changing the laws. That’s one of the beauties of the design. And that’s why the fund will exhaust in 2034 if not re-engineered. Not rocket science —- we live longer, drugs are more expensive, and there are more of them to buy. WE underestimated and need to remedy that. To do that is easy to, the final choices will be tough and get tougher the longer Republicans take to fix it. There’s less benefits, extend age requirements, pay less, put in more OR a combination of all. I suggest age, less bene’s via means testing to start with. We live longer and, frankly, people like me should not get the full boat.

    But Horist’s claim is pure malarky, he seems to be off the mark on this one.

    FYI: Medicare does pull from the General Fund which no one really cares if it runs deficits year after year. By law, it just keeps pulling. This was under Johnson and I think sucks and should be changed. The financial free standing nature of social security makes robbing the fund harder and managing it in a pure sense, easier. Maybe Horist should advocate you play with your medicare trust fund —- fits his narrative better and since you will be eating dog food while trying to live on SS, who needs medicine. (sarcasm alert)

  3. Darren

    Social Security will always be just a supplementary income.
    People who work hard their whole life have to ask themselves, what did they do
    for 40 years? What kind of job did the perform and was their income above average wage?
    People who retire and expect to live better than they did when working are fools!
    You were supposed to create a certain amount of self wealth in those years and SS is
    to be used later in life for tangibles.
    The Government can not handle their own budgets or money manage a Lemonade Stand yet they are given
    control over your income to save for you when you can no longer work?
    So the people Working control ( futures ) for those not working? Real sound thinking!
    This was set up in a time when the Government was kind of Honest or at least had good intentions.
    You have today a Government that can not control their own kids blowing more money, Not paying into the system as it will not matter to them.
    I am from the Government and I am here to help!
    Larry you are 100% correct a Mundo!

    • frank Stetson

      Darren, it’s nice to see a conservative that gets it, but Horist is way off the mark on this one.

      Like I said, and you concur, SS is a safety net, always will be. It’s safe, secure, and never gives up (if the Republicans would help to freakin fix it and the longer they stall, the worse it will be).

      Here’s the planned payout: “The average Social Security retirement benefit for Americans retiring in 2021 was $1,754 per month. The federal poverty threshold for a single individual aged 65 and over in 2021 was $12,996, or $1,083 per month. So the average Social Security benefit for a new retiree was actually 1.6 times the federal poverty line.” Yo, 1.6 poverty = poverty in my book. You gonna need a bigger boat as you say.

      As far as the gubermint, they have not changed on this much since FDR set it up. The concept was to avoid grammy looking like one of the ancient Russian jews begging for a box of matza you see on TV. It was not a paycheck, it IS a life support check.

      The concept of looking at better investments fails on it’s merits. First, no way can the gubermint manage this, or outsource it even, without picking winners and losers. You think Horist bitches about the Infrastructure or IRA bill, how about let’s hire Fidelity to invest our $2,900,000,000,000 dollars fairly….. Think Schwab might call foul? Or we can self-manage in which case I GUARANTEE some will fail, some will go broke, a few — like me —- will do better. Oh yeah, and every failure means we borrow more money since it’s currently being used to fund our national debt.

      Come on. It’s a good deal. It’s a safety net. It funds America. Like you said Darren, “You were supposed to create a certain amount of self wealth in those years.” No joke to that Darren. It wasn’t like the gubermint hasn’t been telling you the payout since you were 40……or younger…..

      FYI — here’s one place I disagree with SS and the government: they stress how waiting will make you more and more money. Do the freakin math. They tell you IF you wait till you’re 70, you will add 32% to your take home. What a deal. They don’t tell you will leave 100% on the table for 4 years. Using 1K a month that means you forgo 48K while you wait, and you will make $320 extra a month for the waiting. Now to payback the 48K you gave up at $320 a month or $3,820 a year will take you 3.1 years before you realize ONE DOLLAR of extra profit. So, you gots to ask yourself, do you feel lucky? Well, do you punk….?

      That means if you wait, you will be 74 before you profit and you need to ask seriously —- is it better to take 10 years of cash or be richer when you are 74 and perhaps falling apart……

      For years, I have requested they put a breakeven tool on their site, but crickets ——- THEY seem to want to wait. Do you really think they are losing money on that deal?

      In our house, with two SS accounts, we hedged — took one ASAP at 62, and are holding to 70 on the bigger one.

      Bottom line: before you wait, do the math, decide whether fun now while you can walk, or more fun later when perhaps you’re in a walker…….

      And again —- SS is cut away from our tax dollars, it funds the debt, it makes a bit of interest. It’s medicare that’s the general fund suck that runs a massive deficit every year and adds a lot to the national debt. That’s where the debt could be better managed if we architected that fund to be like social security.

    • larry Horist

      Darren … I ahs long thought that SS should be a fixed welfare program with payouts to people with less than .. say … $80,000 in retirement income. I only offer that as an alternative to the current loosy SS program. Not every recipient gets the same amount each month — and there is the problem of the growing number of self-employed and Subchapter S businesses that have to put in 12.4 percent of their income, while people working for other corps put in 6.2 present with the business putting in the other half. The money we the people contribute does not go into any account’s. It is used to cover the pay out to those on SS. The young person paying my SS will get his or hers from people who are not even born yet. Since the ratio of workers to retirees is shifting, fewer people have to pay more to cover the growing number of retirees. In 1940, there were approximately 160 workers sharing the cost of each retiree. Today, it takes money from 2-plus workers to cover the payments to each retiree. If that continues, workers should be entitled to at least an addition dependent deduction on their taxes. If you want to know how bad SS really is, remember that federal employees do not participate in SS. They have their own more lucrative retirements programs. The folks who created it do not even think it is all that great. SS sucks big time. It is a rip off. As I said in the commentary, SS is popular among those who do not know better because for many it is better than nothing,

      • Frank stetso

        I bet Horist thought this idea long ago, Darren. I would peg him at 1983 or earlier on this brainstorm.

        He stated that fed workers don’t pay into SS.

        Any fed worker since 1984 must use Social Security just like us. All branches. Prior to that I think they could choose SS or some special pension thingee. One time choice.

        And Horist says Stetson does not understand SS…..oh my. Wow.

        The old man constantly rests on his laurels and relives his past ideas with a tenuous grasp on reality in his imaginary Horistland world.

        Worse yet, he most always claims he’s right for the sole reason he believes me to be stupid. Probably won’t own up to this obvious oops of not checking the currency of his old facts either. Just keeps singing the same old songs….

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson … One point for you. Ai research misinformed me. It does that if you are not careful. I should have known better I was involved in Washington when federal employees were put on SS. If you are keeping score it is now Frank 1 to Larry’s 3,8524 — roughly.

  4. frank Stetson

    LIE #2 “ Many Social Security retirees supplement their Social Security income with welfare benefits.”

    I apologize — Horist is spot on on this one and I don’t get it but one report says about 50% of SS recipients get SNAP benefits too and I would gather, therefore, perhaps other welfare programs.

    What’s up? SS pays at 1.6 poverty on average and SNAP pays on less than 1.3 poverty so the average user shouldn’t apply.

    Also if the SS member is part of a family, the SNAP applies to the family income which may be a lot of these folks.

    Some may also have some other sort of deduction from income for their SS payments that might put them in this boat.

    All I can say is it must be the law of averages and 50% or more fall from the 1.6 above poverty average SSI payment to below the 1.3 poverty SNAP requirement and yes, Horist, that just sucks. But I am guessing these are the folks that would manage their own investments even worse than Tbills given how they managed work so far to be close to the poverty level to begin with. I don’t have an answer or remedy, I am glad SNAP exists for these folks, but if SS is supposed to be a safety net, it isn’t.

    LIE #3 “In fact, there is no return as normally calculated.
    Again, if you live long, you will take out much more than you put in. Whether you call that interest or profit, it’s extra money you did not deposit.

    LIES 4, 5, and 6 should need no further splainin to be done

  5. AC

    Larry. your point is?
    Wise cracks pointed at SS is a poorly veiled anti- Democrat rant. How convenient, an opportunity for another disparaging dig at FDR, an evil democrat.
    Your financial consul in both the macro and micro economic universe is poorly considered. Founded in your long entrenched opinion’s critically biased, thinking, then, is anything but objective.
    Although, you contend having a broad appreciation, an almost liberal consideration for progress. However, all the while you continue support for republicanism’s glorifying individualism and ones owning pulling up of self by one’s boot straps. America’s greatness has been made through 200+ years invested in fellow citizens’ wellbeing, as well as, the World’s freedom and justice.
    America’s greatness takes a general unity. Divisive, us vs. them, mentality does not contribute a penny for unity and greatness.
    Your own personal greatness advanced by self is at general unity’s expense.

  6. Mike f

    As per usual, Larry complains a lot, but offers no viable solution. There was a lot of talk in the early-2000’s in conservative circles about privatizing SS and allowing individuals to invest their contributions in stocks Then along came the 2008 crash and people realized that savings could be wiped out, so that discussion pretty much stopped-except for Larry who is well known to keep beating a dead horse long after it has died. Frank is basically spot on with his critique of Larry’s BS-SS was never intended to be something retirees live off of, but unfortunately many people don’t (or can’t) plan for the future and that is all the income they have in their retirement (Larry appears to be one of those individuals). There have been proposals to shore up SS by increasing contributions by high income earners, but those have been shot down by republicans (surprise!). Because of declining birth rate, and reduced numbers of workers, the future of SS is on the line (many conservatives are advocating a reduction in benefits to shore up the system-a point Larry conveniently overlooked in his diatribe-another surprise!). However, there is one partial solution to the problem that most overlook-that is illegal immigration. People in this country illegally and work pay into the system without any chance of ever collecting benefits. So in essence-illegal immigrants are shoring up the system-a point that will never be shared by those on the right, who continue to demonize the current administration for following the current laws, rather than doing anything to address the issue…

  7. AC

    If this so called blog Larry uses heralding a particularly one sided narrative, of which readership is mixed. Larry’s disciples’ choir is seen in attendance and concurring, as if they were in tune.
    Faithful readers who are frequent guests on Larry’s blog appear in text with their presenting another viewpoint. Salient and justifiable are these opposing points pertinent to Larry’s issue headlined and skewed with obvious intent in foretelling. No question who authored it where it’s headed. Been here before, took in the show, but passed on purchasing a t-shirt.
    Larry’s telling of a story known for its complicated issues the wisest people through many previous decades have negotiated and debated endlessly. Each ended without a coming to terms between contending parties nor an agreement document signed with warring leaders’ signatures.
    What, if any, fresh new insights are being offered toward solving troubling issues of this day and our present generation?
    Larry, you’re telling the stories already heard told in objective terms by media sources you deride. Lead thinking readers away from your opinion and thinking. Your version lacks global context. Single object as subject for your scrutiny derives minutia only and that in all is partially true and misleading. Is propaganda pushing worth your time? Clock is ticking on republicanism, conservatives’ foot dragging. and the right’s limited relevancy. The ways used in the past for prognostications are ineffective and hard to justify while deciding present day expenditures and 1,5, or 10 year plans.
    Stories this blog tells do not give evidence true the larger whole story. The many stories blogged here are but fairytales, meaningless. Like cartoons children saw back in the day, were called fractured fairytales.
    Courts of Law demand that evidence given is the truth, nothing but the truth, in case one missed the meaning. The whole truth told comes by command in an oath. Unfortunately, all media sources believe they’re giving evidence, but they may just be venders with information their stock and trade. No oath demanding truth of information, improbable as facts, disbursed
    without impunity and material consequences.
    PBP, an acronym for Punching Bag Propaganda.

    • larry Horist

      AC …. I am sure you are not aware, but your long insulting ramblings are barely on the edge of coherence.d For example, you write, “The whole truth told comes by command in an oath. Unfortunately, all media sources believe they’re giving evidence, but they may just be venders with information their stock and trade. No oath demanding truth of information, improbable as facts, disbursed without impunity and material consequences.” And you wrote, “Faithful readers who are frequent guests on Larry’s blog appear in text with their presenting another viewpoint. Salient and justifiable are these opposing points pertinent to Larry’s issue headlined and skewed with obvious intent in foretelling.” It is all word salad gibberish. And I could present more examples. Your criticism does not bother me … nor do the petty insults … but I would suggest you write less and more coherently if you expect to be taken seriously.

  8. frank Stetson

    LIE #7 “If President Roosevelt had created a market-based investment plan for Social Security, the average recipient would be receiving up to ten times the monthly return than they are getting today.”

    Based on the pension migration to 401k results, this is not true. Plus, a certain number would completely lose their safety nets and have no monthly payments at all, ever. As diversification rules, everyone SHOULD have a safety net. Yes, the government, the people, forces you to establish this. Your employer matches your 6% giving you 6% profit for retirement. COOL.

    Horist completely overlooks the functional dynamics at play. SS is invested in our debt; it is the largest holder. What’s he going to do about that? And then, who invests, and in what? The government? You want them to pick who to invest in (give 3 trillion dollars to?). A quasi-government organization like the Federal Reserve? Let them pick? OR us, individual citizens. Release the Kraken — did not work for pensions to 401k, will not work here. Look it up; Americans on average can’t beat professional money managers much less deliver ten times what the government delivers with the special t-bills.

    What happens with all that debt. How do we finance if Horist has his way?

    Face it, it’s a pipedream from a mendacious mindless mensch of a man trapped in his putrid political past with his asinine age-old defeated dumb shit dreams of his destiny to return to the rugged pioneer days where each man stood his own against the elements. Rugged, individual, free, is the dream. Sorry, it just does not play well in a modern economy. There is a place, it does have purpose, but the Federal Government is about the health of the nation and sometimes you just have to pitch in and support a community. It’s not communism, it’s community. Sometimes it does take a village and forcing people to have a safe, secure, steady, safety net FOR LIFE, IMO is a good example.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … Childish insults aside, you simply do not know what you are talking about. Facts are not based on the number of words you write.. Your facts are wrong. Your assumptions are wrong. Your opinions are wrong. Do your homework and stop playing fool for the public sector types? As you have pointed out, you do not care how bad SS is became you have enough wealth to disregard it. Millions would be benefited with a better return on that money.

      • Frank stetson

        Horist: again, all personal attack, no facts to refute, another nothing burger. 🍔

  9. frank Stetson

    #7 continued due to free speech curtailment on word count :>) What other censorship?

    Plus, the design and architecture of SS, although forced to, by our politics and Constitution, is elegant. Horist mistakenly said payouts come for the general fund, but the truth is SS is its OWN fund, cut away from the government budgets, and never the two will be mixed, BY LAW, Mr. Horist. Congress cannot grab it for other purposes, it can only invest in one place —- special T-bills. And that funds EVRYTHING we do at the Federal Level from national defense to welfare to even Medicare BUT those expenditures DO use the budget process and don’t appropriate SS in the dead of night without transparency. SS funds everything, we are our own biggest investor. It is as safe as we keep America’s economy and country safe. It’s us and up to us. MAGICALLY COOL.

    There is a downside to the architecture. IF, as in 2034 now, the SS fund goes belly up, there is no other funding unless Congress makes new law. NONE. Unlike Medicare that is funded by the General Fund for any amount it needs, SS is not, by law. I like that too; it makes SS more accountable and the problem more recognizable. But I really hope we fix it soon and make it secure and stable again before we have to go to the Horist’s and MTG’s of the world to ask for emergency aid………

    Cool sidenote: thanks to Trump granting American some of the highest covid death rates in the world, the SS fund has got some more breathing room as we killed off many of the recipients. More in Red than Blue too. Just saying

    We do need to re-engineer SS soon because we are living longer due to expensive drugs and many new ones. We misestimated and need to re-engineer to make solvent again. It’s 2034 which means tomorrow. The choices are easy, the decisions hard. We can extend the age for availability, lower benefits, increase payments, reduce benefits or a combination. I suggest age (we are living longer) and means-testing to reduce benefits to the wealthy. I do not deserve or need to take my full share out for example. I have a few safety nets. And there’s a cap on payments at 135K I think, or thereabouts. Remove it, let me pay, and then means-test me on the back end too. I don’t care. I came from nothing EXCEPT my parents sacrificed ALL to give a college education which I admit is a better start than a lot of people. But post school I was broke, alone, and struggling. Zero support or backup. America gave me the opportunity to do this. To create my own multi-generational wealth and I have NO ISSUES with giving back, supporting the cause. None.

    My Father turned down WWII disability saying “the other boys need it more.” While today, with my feelings on government programs, I do not understand that, I do honor and respect it. I gave a couple of the stimulus away. One to kids, one to charity. I did not say others need it more, I said I can do without. Then I looked to heaven and winked.

    Bottom Line: Don’t fuck with your safety net. Keep it safe, secure, and at the lowest possible risk.

  10. frank Stetson

    Horist: sure, I am game. But can you point readers to “A market value Social Security plan is a hybrid of private investment and public oversight with protections against catastrophic loses” It does not pop on goggle and does not seem to be the Republican plan.

    • frank Stetson

      Horist —- I cannot find any support for your Market Value Social Security Plan that offers ten times the current profits from investments. DO YOU have a source, a link, a plan?

  11. frank Stetson

    After of couple of days, Horist has not responded to the request to divulge the sources of his plan, he’s so transparent. I do find a lot a stuff poo-pooing it like: “Yet economic research and basic economic principles show that such comparisons simply are not valid. They seriously mislead the public.”


    The stuff he’s spewing probably comes from CATO or it’s ilk who are right of right center, so pretty much is as stupid as Horist. By that I mean, false – impossible returns like pipe dreams, inadequate controls, and absolutely no concept of what happens to the markets, existing investments, etc. I mean you don’t flip $3 trillion from one place to another without yuge effects, economically speaking, which Horist is unable to do.

    But I also found one guy, probably a liberal, commiecrat, POS, who is also a brilliant, accomplished, economist, unlike Horist. I think this is what Horist is attempting, albeit poorly, to say: “Allowing the Social Security system to invest a portion of its growing reserves in private assets will increase the returns on the trust fund balances and reduce the size of the unavoidable payroll tax increases and benefit reductions that will be needed to eliminate the program’s long-run deficit. Concerns that political interests might attempt to influence trust fund investment decisions are legitimate but institutional safeguards can be enacted into law that would reduce the possibility of such interference to a de minimis level.” Unlike Horist, he writes a cogent program that would increase SS returns with a modicum of risk backed up by protections. It’s interesting.

    HOWEVER, no where does he spread the “ten times the return” piece of malarkey that Horist promises. Anytime anyone feeds you that line of complete bullshit, tell em to take a hike. More on that in a later post, but trust me —— getting ten percent return is really tough. Ten times is a fool’s mission.

    This guy is brilliant, accomplished, and probably unbiased or leans left. He’s full of shit too, but THIS IS THE ARTICLE HORIST WANTED TO WRITE….. Horist pretends its risk free and unassailable when the controls he suggests basically get you the SCOTUS —- no politics there. And where there’s politics, there’s corruption. But the basic fact remains. To get more reward you take more risk and with increased risk comes increased potential to LOSE. I do like his suggestion that broad index mutuals are available today with takes a dent out of picking winners and losers. And we could structure it in such a way that the LAW makes the choices, not individuals or by committee. In other words, we could buy the farm so to speak investing in the entire DOW, NASDAQ, WILSHIRE, matter of fact, the wise choice would be a bit of all, plus some Tbills, and maybe even a CD index. This massively reduces the winners and losers and places the bet on the entire market. The US market, perhaps of only US companies (although that might be hard). But the LAW has to pick and such “pickings” although broad, must be specify the generic nature. Otherwise, you might just pick green indexes or worse. Sort of takes the picking of which equities to a picking of Congressionally-defined broad markets by LAW. Really broad, really generic. But when we lose, then what? From the General Fund? He writes some safeguards, but here’s where I disagree — you DO INCREASE the risk of failure, his BET is that history has shown there are temporary and the market will come back. Well, it’s a bet, so far a good bet, and like T-bills, if he is wrong, don’t matter, we be sunk anyway. He claims it’s safer than 1929 today; I disagree, but understand.

    Lastly, he mentions many controls to minimize corruption, bias, and the like. They make sense, but more sense IF we mandate, by law, what the investment definition is to be sure that we are purchasing really broad markets.

    And —- this is the ugly truth Horist forgot to tell you. Even if we get greater returns, that is cut away from what you get. IOW —- greater returns will not necessarily mean your check is bigger, may just mean that the fund is more stable. Yeah, Horist pretends it’s all going in your pocket. Some economist. Some understanding of SS. NOT.


    FYI: given the law hamstrings the trustees to broad market index purchases, and that the SS payments to retirees are cut away from the returns calculated based on income earned as they are today — as in your check does not increase or decrease based on the market or SS returns from said market —– yeah, I could live with this.

    But ten times return — NFW Horist, nfw.

  12. David Olson

    I say both Larry Horist and Frank Stetson are wrong, Frank misunderstanding it more than Larry.

    Before the Great Depression people provided for their own retirement, working as long as they could, then drawing on their savings and dying soon afterwards. The Great Depression closed many banks and many people’s retirement savings were lost. There was no FDIC back then. Hence the push to grab rich people’s money to finance everyone’s retirement. Social Security was established as a substitute for those ‘Townsend Plans’ to tax the rich. The foundation of Social Security has always been ‘social insurance’ and ‘pay as you go’. Broadly speaking the benefit you receive is insurance-proportional to the taxes you paid. Because the benefit has a maximum cap, the taxation and income taxable is also capped.

    It used to work fine, collecting more FICA tax than needed to pay benefits. But increasing lifespans and decreasing ratio of workers to payees ruined that. The FICA tax rate has been increased a few times since then. Most recent during Reagan’s administration retirement age was bumped up, and during Clinton’s administration Social Security benefits were made income taxable. Medicare and Medicaid was an LBJ add-on that is financed by another increase in the payroll FICA tax.

    For years after the Reagan fixes the Social Security Administration collected more taxes than paid benefits, the excess was “invested” in special Treasury Bills, as Frank says. What did the government do with that money? It went where Congress appropriated it. Frank is wrong that Congress didn’t spend the money. All this was Clinton “investment in America”. What has the Return on Investment been? Not so good.

    Now FICA taxes are less than the benefits that must be paid. The Social Security Administration has to redeem those Special Treasury Bills. That is why the system will run out of money in 2034, or sooner. Here Frank is wrong about Social Security not receiving General Fund money. Congress has to take from the General Fund in order to pay those Special Treasury Bills.

    At the moment what is the credit worthiness of Social Security. It is = to the ‘Full Faith and Credit of the United States’, which is ultimately the state of the U.S. economy. Projected in 2034 the SSA will run out of money and have to cut benefits to = revenue received from FICA taxes. In political terms everyone still expects it to = the Full Faith and Credit of the United States, even if the economy has to be ruined in order to pay it.

    One proposed solution is something like 401k privatization. Frank disparages that, saying that individuals are not as good managing money as professionals. True, but that is not how it would work. Right now we have choice = one money manager, chosen by the politicians and limited in what they can invest in. When privatized we could choose Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab, Merrill Lynch or several others, who would have broader choices of where to invest the money for returns.

    Years ago I read that Russians still receive Soviet Social Security. Their monthly check was about $30 and can only be received in Russia. Vs. our SS pays you wherever you live.

    As for SS needed to fund our government’s budget and deficit, a government that has to depend on such forced savings is bad, and needs to be cut down in size, adopt a smaller budget. In any case, those days are past and now it works the other way, our government funding SS.

    • larry Horist

      David Olson … An excellent explanation of SS. I wish I had explained it as well….lol