Paul Krugman is the uber-liberal "economist" with his own column in the most prestigious newspaper of record, the New York Times. Each of his columns attracts massive blogging interest, and today's column is no exception.
Today he wrote:
Here's the truth: by law, Social Security has a budget independent of the rest of the U.S. government. That budget is currently running a surplus, thanks to an increase in the payroll tax two decades ago. As a result, Social Security has a large and growing trust fund.
With him being a so-called economist, it's shameful that he endorses an accounting gimmick at face value. Sure, Congress can pass a law declaring Social Security its own special budget, but Congress can't magically change the fact that the government has a limited amount of resources with which to dole out benefits. No matter which "budget" our government spends from, essentially it's all one big pile of money.
Hoystory does a really great job debunking the column. Hoystory seems to implicity support the Bush Social Security privatization proposal, and I don't think that proposal has been thought out very well, but otherwise, Hoystory seems right on target.
There's a nice Social Security chart at Random Jottings.
In a much shorter Krugman post, Jim at Thinking Right points out how liberals have completely changed their tune on Social Security since three years ago.
Secure Liberty offers a passionate plea for moving to an "ownership" system. I agree with the idea that we have to do something.
Being a libertarian, my preferred solution would be to simply establish a long-term plan to phase out benefits. Running a massive retirement plan isn't one of government's necessary functions.