Harry Browne on Social Security

2000 Libertarian Nominee for President


Get Social Security out of politician’s hands

So long as Social Security remains in the politicians’ hands, it will be unsafe. We can’t leave our retirement money lying on the table for them to grab and spend. The only way to make Social Security safe is by getting the government out of it. And the only way to get government out of it is to do so now-completely and forever. Millions of Americans have paid into Social Security. But since the politicians have already spent that money, they now tax you to make good on what they promised to others.
Source: The Great Libertarian Offer, p. 85-86 , Sep 9, 2000

Budget surplus doesn’t exist-it’s all the Trust Fund

Q: What should be done with the existing budget surplus? A: Surplus? What surplus? The federal budget process allows politicians to utilize the funds from the so-called “Trust” of Social Security and to move projects “off-budget” so that they can achieve their political goal. The surplus doesn’t exist.
Source: Email correspondence from the candidate with OnTheIssues.org , Jan 27, 2000

End the government Social Security system

On Social Security:“End the government Social Security System. Sell federal assets to finance the purchase of private annuities for those currently dependent on Social Security.”
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Social Security squanders your retirement money

Investing is the only thing you really can count on for your senior years. You can’t depend on Social Security to take care of you. Social Security operates on a simple principle:

You give your retirement money to politicians and they squander it on something else.

They may spend it on someone else’s retirement-or on programs to curry re-election support from special interest groups. But the one thing they will never do is put your money in a trust fund earmarked for your retirement.

Source: “Fail-Safe Investing,” p. 9 , Nov 9, 1999

Social Security is a pyramid scheme

Social Security operates on a basis that would send the owners of any private insurance company to prison: It expects to repay your “contribution” with money it will take from someone else later. As the years pass, it becomes harder and harder to keep this pyramid scheme going. The sad and silly history of politics warns us that real reform won’t happen until the system is close to collapse. In the meantime, the only changes will be to reduce benefits, delay the retirement age, or increase taxes.
Source: “Fail-Safe Investing,” p. 9 , Nov 9, 1999

Take social security away from politicians entirely

We don’t want to “allow” Americans to invest a small portion of their Social Security taxes on their own. We want to get Social Security completely away from the politicians, so that Americans can use all of their own money in whatever way they want.
Source: http://www.harrybrowne2000.org/ “The pack” 5/16/99 , Apr 3, 1998

Shut it down; buy annuities with asset sales.

Shut Social Security down totally and for good. What happens to those who are currently dependent on it? Have the government make a one-time purchase of private annuities for them, providing the same income Social Security has promised. How will that be paid for? Sell off assets the federal government shouldn’t own anyway -- power companies, pipelines, unused military bases, western lands, oil rights, mineral rights, and most. federal buildings that serve no Constitutional purpose.
Source: http://www.harrybrowne2000.org/ “Social Security” 5/16/99 , Jun 6, 1997

Irresponsibility does not justify Social Security

[A criticism of self-managed retirement] is that some people are too irresponsible to look ahead and provide for their retirement. Of course, some people wouldn’t provide for their own retirement -- just as some of them won’t brush their teeth. But it is wrong to hold the rest of us hostage -- to force us into a fraudulent Social Security scheme, or force us to display our teeth for government hygiene inspectors -- simply because some people won’t take responsibility for their own lives.
Source: http://www.harrybrowne2000.org/ “Social Security” 5/16/99 , Jun 6, 1997

SSI tax has risen from 2% to 15% & will continue to rise

The Social Security tax has risen from a combined employer-employee rate of 2% in 1935 to today’s combined tax of 15.3%. And there’s no reason to believe the tax rate won’t continue to rise. As administered by politicians, Social Security is inherently unworkable, because the politicians always spend the money they take in. As the retired population grows, it requires higher taxes to pay the benefits the politicians have promised.
Most people think Congress would never renege on its promises to Social Security recipients-no matter how bad federal finances become. But when the only alternative is to raise the Social Security tax rate to 35% or 40%-or to cut off food stamps to the poor-there may be no choice but to cut Social Security benefits.
Millions of people depend on Social Security today. They worked for decades. Their plans assumed that Social Security would provide for them when they retired. I believe these people must be taken care of. But I don’t trust the government to do it.
Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by H. Browne, p.162-3 , Jul 2, 1995

One-time pay off of all people over 50, with means testing

The government should buy from a private insurance company an annuity for everyone who depends on Social Security. The annuities should provide lifetime incomes similar to what Social Security has promised. I estimate the cost to be roughly $5 trillion.
Annuities should be provided only for those who truly need them. This means some kind of simple, non-intrusive means test must be applied to each retiree. Those that don’t rely on Social Security shouldn’t aggravate the problem further. The maximum monthly Social Security benefit is $1,100; there are many retired people to whom that isn’t a critical amount.
People over the age of 50 who are nearing retirement and who have made plans based on receiving Social Security should also receive annuities. Those annuities would be smaller and wouldn’t begin paying out until age 65.
And what about those under 50? To them we offer the greatest gift possible: You will never again have to pay the 15% Social Security tax.
Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by H. Browne, p.167-8 , Jul 2, 1995

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Page last updated: Oct 01, 2016