As you may have heard, Social Security is going broke. In 2010, the program ran a $49 billion deficit for the first time since 1983, and more red ink is expected when the 2011 figures are released. After that, things get worse. As the Social Security Trustees point out in their 2011 report:
After 2014, cash deficits are expected to grow rapidly as the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers. — See report here
The basic problem is that people are living longer and families are having fewer children, which means fewer new workers contributing to the growing crowd of retirees. In 1960, there were 5.1 full time workers for each Social Security recipient. By 2011, that number had fallen to 1.75. If that wasn’t bad enough, the 2010 US census found that the number of children below the age of 18 in families with children is now 1.88, below the replacement rate.
One of the arguments made in support of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is that people with no insurance create financial burdens on the rest of us in the form of cost shifting. They can go to the emergency room where they must be treated for free, leaving us insured saps to pick up their costs.
So Congress has said that the fairest solution is to require every American to carry health insurance, forcing everyone to share the healthcare market costs equally.
It’s an excellent principle, and one I believe can be used to shore up Social Security as well. The reason Social Security is going broke is: too many old people, not enough babies. We could solve the old people problem by putting arsenic in their bran muffins, but that wouldn’t be a very enlightened solution. And, it might put Wilford Brimley on welfare.
Encouraging more babies would be nicer, and way more fun. Using the logic of the Affordable Care Act, Congress could decide that childless or under-reproducing couples are unfairly shifting the cost of their future Social Security benefits onto the rest of us. Under my proposed Affordable Retirement Act, Congress would require every American family to have at least 3 children, thus raising the number of future workers contributing to the system. Since this legislation would make Social Security solvent and promote more sex in America, I predict the ARA will be wildly popular with both parties.
Under my proposed legislation, singles or couples not wanting children could opt out of the 3-child minimum by paying a
tax annual penalty of $5,000 per unborn child, thus carrying the financial load they refuse to lift through procreation.
And here’s more good news: the ARA would dramatically stimulate the US housing market (as growing families sought bigger homes), the US health care industry, the world market for disposable diapers, and all manner of other child-related industries, creating an economic boom not seen since World War II.
My friends on Capitol Hill tell me that as soon as the Supreme Court approves Obamacare, they plan to get right to work on the Affordable Retirement Act. But why wait? Flush your birth control pills, give your spouse a wink and get started tonight on saving Social Security, and saving America.