A reader concurs:
“Dear Derb—Of course, it ultimately works out to money in and money out,
and it makes no logical sense to pretend that the revenues from the FICA tax
are in any way segregated, or that the actuarial solvency of the Social
Security system is a well-defined question. (The FICA proceeds are not
really an ‘asset,’ and Congress can change the benefit levels and retirement
ages at any time, so there is no legally mandated ‘liability’ either.)
“The next politician who can make mathematical points like that in a
memorable way that everybody ‘gets’ could become President. Although the
median person has no ability to apply mathematics in any meaningful way, the
median person CAN follow a logical argument if it is properly presented and
soundly illustrated, and mathematics is ultimately just logic.
“If the MSM wanted to, they could make sure that almost everyone understands
basic quantitative features of our sociopolitical existence, such as the
relative size of various risks. That they don’t want to makes it harder to
get such information across, but Reagan cut through the media headwind at a
time when they had much more power than they do now to frame debate, so some
other politician ought to be able to do it today.”
[Derb here] When I talk to tax professionals, I always feel that there is
some really, really fundamental point I am totally missing.
Preparing my stuff for my own tax accountant, in fact, I put at the front of
the bundle two simple, double-spaced one-pagers: (1) Here is what came IN
to the Derb household last year, in summary; and (2) Here is what went OUT,
It drives him crazy. Accountants don’t think like that at all.