Saturday, February 5, 2011

Social Security -- A Story

A friend recently related an experience he had with Social Security.  I thought you would find it interesting, at least I did, and it points out the benefit of a government-run non-profit program as opposed to a private for-profit program.

My friend will be eligible for his full Social Security retirement in a couple of months so he went on-line and signed up for Social Security retirement starting in the month he turns 66.  The on-line process was relatively painless and certainly very convenient. 

About a week later, his wife gets a phone call from Social Security informing her that she may be eligible for an increase in her benefit.  She began collecting her Social Security a couple of years ago.  They told her that she could probably get a higher monthly payment as a spousal benefit from her husband's Social Security rather than her own Social Security.  They took her application for this higher benefit over the phone.  She didn't even have to go into the local Social Security office.

Yes, a HIGHER benefit.

Yes, over the phone application

The benefit increase is about 25%.  Not an insignificant amount.

And that got me to thinking.  What if Social Security was a for-profit corporation?

One, starting to pay out to a new beneficiary would reduce their profit.  Do you think they would make is very easy and convenient to apply for benefits?

Two, increasing his wife's benefit would reduce their profit.  Do you think they would contact her to tell her she was eligible for an increase?

Three, would they make it easy to apply for the increase over the phone?

Then I thought about health insurance.  How much better off would we be if health insurance was like Social Security?  Where they worked to YOUR benefit instead of THEIR profit.


  1. that's a feel good story Jerry. The government is looking out for us and the righties hate it!

  2. Corporatism is ruining this country. This was a refreshing twist to the way things usually seem to work in this plutocracy which entraps us all.

  3. I was worried your friend's wife was about to become the victim of identity theft.

    I agree that health care insurance should be not-for-profit... because Free Market Rules Don't Work In Delivering Health Care.