Of course it’s an entitlement- Social Security, that is

I paid $132,743 in Social Security taxes my entire working life of over fifty years

No, I did not pay for my and my wife’s Social Security benefits and yes, because a law says so, I and my wife are entitled to a Social Security payment each month even when those payments exceed all of the taxes I paid. – which they did six years ago.

Anyone who tells you or let’s you believe Social Security and Medicare are not government entitlements paid for by your and other citizens taxes are misleading you.


  1. Stick to your conclusion: “Anyone who tells you or let’s you believe Social Security and Medicare are not government entitlements paid for by your and other citizens taxes are misleading you.”

    I know because I’m funding others’ benefits. I will have caused to be paid in far, far more than I will ever receive – in terms of the Social Security and Medicare benefits I and my spouse will receive.

    I’m not in the same boat as a writer who posted a letter in today’s WSJ, but, I’m closer to his situation than I am to 95+% of all Social Security beneficiaries and recipients, past and present.

    The letter says: “While many corporate workers receive far less than they paid into Social Security, the workers who really get taken to the cleaners are the self-employed. As a 76-year old, I have been paying into Social Security since 1965. Self-employed since 1982, I had to write a personal check to the IRA as both an “employer” and “employee” for 25 years. Through March 2023, I have received a mere 5% of my contributions. With a personal retirement option that returned even 4% a year, my contributions would be worth over $5 million today. Ouch. …”

    My only disagreement with his letter is to reconfirm, from an economics perspective, any employer contribution to Social Security or Medicare was funded by a reduction in wages paid to the worker. Taxpayers pay for everything – the government doesn’t pay for anything, and every employer pays less because they have to shoulder some of the Social Security and medicare expense.

    Importantly, when Congress finally gets around to addressing the looming funding shortfall of Social Security (FICA) and Medicare Part A (FICA-Med), it will be folks like me who have paid in for well in excess of 50 years and are still paying in today who will likely end up with both a benefit “haircut” AND end higher taxes (FICA, FICA-Med and income taxes).


  2. Bob,

    After you get your SSA.gov account all setup, do not click on any links in emails for Social Security. Bookmark the logon page on your browser and only use your own bookmark to log in. Last week, I got an email that even had a ssa.gov address stating that I had a message and to click on the link. I didn’t do it. I logged in via my bookmark and there was no message. Who knows where that link went.

    I have had an account for well over a decade now and it is very secure. Full of information that they use to mail to you.


    1. Now that spooks me.
      I set up a Treasury Direct account on January 24th. Then had the account locked because I didn’t enter enough account digits from my bank. They said to fill out form sec5512 and send to p.o. box 9150 in Minneapolis. Up to 13 weeks to fix. Then I get an email on February 7th from a truncated address “TRESDoNot…reasury.gov. Freaked me out. I called the number 844-284-2676 and waited on hold for 35 minutes. I reached a man and explained the situation and he said they did truncate email replies. I’m not confident and sincerely hope I haven’t did something that the bad guys are using against me. Anyone have similar? I locked my credit at all three reporting agencies and signed up for Discover credit monitoring. My email and phone numbers are on the Dark Web. What else to do?


  3. If Social Security benefit is an “entitlement”, while we consider a work pension as “earned”, what do we call the payments from a purchased annuity?


  4. A big but… just for arguments sake.

    Scenario… began working in 1972, retire at 66,.total employee/employer contributions $250,000+/-, expected Social Security benefit $2,500/mo., die at 85, leaving no estate

    If I invested that ($250,000) in conservative investments, how would my monthly benefit compare.

    SIMPLIFIED, “you would have accumulated $1.17 million. With a 5% withdrawal rate, that would be $58,500 per year, or $4,875 per month.” That’s retiring in 2014* at age 66.

    The big but… “A 3% withdrawal rate, which I think is more realistic, would support $2,925 per month.”

    Bigger but…
    “Had your career started and ended six years earlier, so that we were doing this same analysis in early 2009 for a 42-year career, you would have only had about $640,000,” Pfau says. “That would have left you at about the same position relative to your Social Security benefit if you used a rather risky 5% withdrawal rate.”



    1. The only problem I see with your math is, there is no way to know if your employers would increase your pay by 6.2%, the required FICA taxes. Also no SS disability, no SS survivors benefit for children, no SS spousal benefit. SS is more than just a retirement benefit.


      1. 1. True.
        2. It’s not my math, I stole it.
        3. It doesn’t consider the unfortunate circumstance that I may live longer than 85.
        4. I assume they are making the point that, no, self investing is pretty much a non starter. Usually.


    1. Who knows, but I am quite sure it would not be sufficient to provide all the benefits SS does nor cover all the possible risks. And I am not certain that I or anyone else would have the discipline or skill to keep that money growing all these years. Look at the record of Americans saving for their retirement- not too good.


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