Thursday, July 15, 2004

Social Security: a case of need?

Social Security's web site is adamant that Social Security is not need based:
Social Security Benefits are Paid as a Legal Right and not According to Need

The Social Security program is not and was never intended to be a program to provide benefits based on need... Since each worker pays Social Security taxes, each worker earns the right to receive Social Security benefits without regard to need. This is one of the basic principles of the Social Security program and is largely responsible for its widespread public acceptance and support.
I'm no expert on Social Security, but isn't that claim contradicted by this statement on the same page:
The method of figuring benefits is weighted in favor of workers with low average lifetime earnings and those with families. This is because the program attempts to achieve social adequacy as well as individual equity. The goal of social adequacy assures that individuals receive a level of benefits that reflects their lesser ability to prepare for the risk.
Let me get this straight. Social Security pays benefits without regard to need, but with regard to an individual's lesser ability to prepare for risk because of low earnings. Hmmm.

Then again, this is on the kids' section of the site. Perhaps kids understand it better than I do.

Speaking of government web sites for kids, the CDC's kids' page is promoting Infectious Disease Trading Cards. The snapshot on the diphtheria card is particularly enchanting.

Meanwhile, Bureau of ATF's kids' site asserts that the organization's "unique responsibilities include protecting the public and reducing violent crime." Unique, huh? So what exactly do the FBI and your local police department do?
Hat tip:  Jane Galt.