The same pattern is at work in our entitlement system, which is lurching toward bankruptcy in part because of how much Medicare and Social Security pay to seniors who could get along without assistance.What Douthat is in fact proposing is that the government bracingly announce:
We lied to you. We said we would take your FICA money, invest it, and return it to you. We spent it instead.The table is being set to blame seniors for what was understood to be not a pay-as-you-go system but a savings account. The dirty work of government reneging on its promise could happen, but I don't appreciate the way he insouciantly disregards that promise. That undermines trust (if, in fact, there is any trust left).
It's true that seniors are living far longer than was originally imagined. And it's true that Social Security is unsustainable. It's fair to delay Social Security benefits till 70 or beyond for workers in their 40s. But to suddenly begin means-testing seniors seems like dirty pool to me.