Few federal programs are as well known and as widely misunderstood as Social Security, despite its national rominence in matters both political and economic. As efforts to reform this creation of the Great Depression era are likely in the coming years,this article examines the principal myths surrounding this program to set the stage for evaluating possible revisions. The myths considered in this article include the following: (1) there is a trust fund, (2) Social Security does not increase the federal budget deficit; (3) retirees are only recovering their own money, (4) Social Security will not be there when one retires, (5) retirement benefits are proportional to one’s lifetime earnings, (6)Social Security favors two-income married couples, (7) Social Security favors long-lived marriages, (8) one could do better investing directly, (9) working after retirement makes financial sense, and (10) retirement benefits are taxed more heavily than other pension payments.


Law and Economics

Date of this Version

March 2008