General Question

pattyb's avatar

Do you think wealthy people should collect Social Security when they retire, or should that money go back into the system?

Asked by pattyb (786points) May 27th, 2008 from iPhone

If a person has a net worth (property, liquid, 401k etc.) of let’s say over 3/4 of a million dollars when he/she retires, should they collect the SS benifits they paid into, or would that money be more wisely spent if it went back into other government agencies that let’s say, help the environent or healthcare.

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13 Answers

crunchaweezy's avatar

I say if they earned it, they can keep it.

pattyb's avatar

By the way, if you are thinking how many people have this type of money when they retire, If you sold your house in the northeast in the last few years, and it was paid for and mortgage free, that’s a 400,000 sale ( on average).

AstroChuck's avatar

Absolutely. If not then it becomes a kind of welfare which the neo-cons will use as an excuse to dismantle social security.

judochop's avatar

they get to keep it. Why on earth should the governent ever be allowed to keep your money?

pattyb's avatar

@judochop, I believe they call it taxation.

judochop's avatar

haha. Maybe so but I plan on retiring with much more than just a million dollars and there will be he’ll to pay if I can’t collect my social security.

pattyb's avatar

to fan the flames of the debate, many would say that the government is throwing billions into a useless war, how many would say that they are giving billions to wealthy people that do not need it.

CameraObscura's avatar

Ugh, the “billions on the war” talking point.

Take it easy on the “uselss” war talk. Yes we are spending billions of dollars but this is the United States of America. We are a massive economically diverse country. Do you know how much we spend on this “useless” war and all of our total military expenditures per year? 4% of our total gross domestic product. That’s less than half what it was 50 years ago.

Of course people should be allowed to keep their own social security money regardless of how much they make. “Rich” people already pay far more than their share of the tax burden and another tax which would be completely progressive and unfair would not provide the result you might think it would.

Michael's avatar

This discussion touches on a common misperception about social security. When you “pay into” the social security system, you are not paying into a personal account that you then get to withdraw from when you retire. The money that you pay in Social Secuirty taxes is not being set aside to pay for your retirement. Rather, your Social Security payments today are used to support current retirees.

In a very real way, that money you pay in social security taxes is not “your money,” its current retirees’ money. When you retire, your payments will come not from some personal account, but from the social security taxes paid by then currently working people.

shilolo's avatar

@Camera. 4% of 13 trillion dollars (the US GDP) is (ummm, let me do the math, carry the one…) more than 500 billion dollars, per year. Billion! That’s not chump change. Now, I’m all for a strong American military, but the extra 150 billion dollars we are flushing down the drain in Iraq every year is money that could be spent on education, Katrina relief, improved infrastructure, health care, and (my personal favorite) medical and technology research (the two engines of the US economy).

That said, I do believe that if you spent your entire life paying for social security, that if you want it when you retire, you should be allowed your share. The noble thing to do if you happen to be rich at that point would be to not take the little bit you could, but to give back, much like Warren Buffett.

susanc's avatar

I agree with shilolo on all of this.
I just started collecting the money that you younger people are paying in, after paying in for many years to support people older than me. (Thank you all very much, and thanks @Michael for clarifying the way the system works.) As I accept that money, which I don’t actually need, I also dispense much more than that amount. I’m sure the comfortably-situated have this obligation.
The real bonus is Medicare.
It’s effing wonderful.

lataylor's avatar

The idea of a cap over which Americans do not accept SS payouts is attractive. SS is not a retirement investment account. SS and Medicare will consume more than the entire federal budget within 40 years. The wealthy who vote for higher taxes for the working, should be patriotc and do their part to not drain the system. Then the tax burden could be diminished.

Mkozar's avatar

If you pay in you should get it back…since that is the principle this system was set up to follow—this isn’t a tax, but rather a payment with promised returns. And if draining the system is unpatriotic, then everyone, both rich an poor who isn’t planning for retirement needs to make some changes. I am a bartender who gets to see all sorts of people who blow money all day long (on alcohol, lottery tix, etc etc) and then have the nerve to try to comment on how others (namely the wealthy) should handle theirs.

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