People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It's a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
Previous generations got a much better bargain, mainly because payroll taxes were very low when Social Security was enacted in the 1930s and remained so for decades.
"For the early generations, it was an incredibly good deal," said Andrew Biggs, a former deputy Social Security commissioner who is now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "The government gave you free money and getting free money is popular."Fuller was the first person to retire and claim a Social Security check, back in 1940. She lived to be 100 and accepted roughly 1,000 times more in dollar benefits than she paid in taxes.
She, and her cohort, are the source of Social Security's trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities that someone, sometime is going to have to eat. The cost has already been incurred, the only question is just who exactly will bear it.