The Corner

Social Security and Poverty

The other day, I quoted Andrew Biggs’s criticism of Obama on Social Security. Biggs pointed out that Obama’s Social Security solution solves only 15 percent of the problem, and that Obama’s claim that 50 percent of seniors would be poor if not for Social Security is ridiculous. On that last point, Biggs claimed in passing that Social Security had very little effect on the elderly poverty rate. He has written a follow-up post just on that point. He concedes that it is too strong to say that we know that the program has had little effect on the elderly poverty rate. Based on his discussion, though, his original comment sounds closer to the truth than Obama’s 50 percent figure.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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