Social Security is Defaulting on Its Promises Through Inflation

Nov. 23, 2018
by Bob Adelmann

There are three ways that Social Security can face its ultimate demise: stop issuing checks; change the deal; or default over time through inflation. Whether intentional or not, the Social Security Administration has chosen Door No. 3, and the Senior Citizens League (SCL) has been blowing the whistle on the fraud for years. In June it reported that:

Over the past 18 years, Social Security benefits have lost 34 percent of their buying power, according to the findings of this study.

Many of the goods and services purchased by typical retirees increased several times faster than annual Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs) from January 2000 through January 2018.

As this writer has pointed out here, for three out of every five of the more than 60 million Americans receiving Social Security, that monthly check represents half or more of their total monthly income. Because many have not planned for the future, or been able to, by the time workers start receiving their benefits, four out of 10 will be living at or near the poverty level.

There have been previous attempts to “adjust” the purchasing power of those checks including using cost-of-living-adjustments or COLAs. For 2019, those 62 million Social Security recipients will see their checks increase by 2.8 percent.

But since 2000, those COLAs have fallen far behind the real costs of living by those over 65. Said the SCL: “Since 2000, COLAs have increased Social Security benefits a total of just 46 percent, while typical senior expenses grew more than twice as fast – 96.3 percent.” For example, a homeowner heating his or her home with heating oil has taken a terrible beating. In January 2000, he or she would have paid $575 to fill a 500-gallon tank, while Social Security was paying an average of $845 a month. But fast forward to 2018: filling that tank now costs more than $1,600 while Social Security paid an average of $1,200. That’s a shift in costs that moves that homeowner from a “plus” $275 a month (after paying for heat) to a “minus” $400 a month – a negative shift of nearly $700 a month.

That Social Security is a Ponzi scheme is no longer questioned except by those who wish to remain deceived. Ida May Fuller was the first Social Security beneficiary who started receiving a monthly check in November 1939. Over the previous three years, she had paid a total of $24.75 into the program. She lived to be 100 and collected a total of $22,888.92.

That’s how Ponzi schemes work: early participants are paid off with the contributions made by later participants who are left hanging when the program blows up. For Charles Ponzi, the scheme worked for about a year before it blew up, costing later participants an estimated $20 million. Ponzi spent five years in federal prison.

Social Security is a Ponzi scheme enforced by people with guns and badges, which is why it is still operating. But its end is in sight, and it’s impoverishing the latecomers.

One piece of the fraud is the use of a “workers’” CPI when calculating the COLA each year instead of using an “elderly” CPI, which more accurately reflects seniors’ living costs. That has placed a heavier burden on those least able to afford it: those who have started taking Social Security since 2000. Now in their 80s, they are out of options save one: reduce their cost of living by reducing their standard of living. They are the “forgotten” people of Social Security, the ones the program was allegedly originally designed to help. 

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Sources:

USAToday.com: Why Social Security benefits have lost a third of their buying power since 2000

SeniorLeague.org: 2018 Loss of Buying Power Study

AgoraFinancial.com: The Social Security Default of 2019

History of Ida May Fuller, the first beneficiary of Social Security

McAlvanyIntelligenceAdvisor.com: The Federal Ponzi Scheme Hits Its “Inflection Point”

Background on Charles Ponzi

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