In 1970, de Rugy notes, transfers from the young to the old took up about 20 percent of the federal budget. In a few years, that figure will break the 50 percent barrier as the population ages and Social Security and Medicare ramp up. Those programs are paid for by payroll taxes that suck up around 15 percent of every dollar most workers will ever make.
Yet the #Occupy movement spends most of its energy railing against “the 1 Percent” richest Americans, whose wealth is not gained at the expense of the “99 Percent.” Rather, it comes from providing goods and services that people want to consume.
As transfer payments to elderly Americans – irrespective of wealth or need – increase in absolute and relative terms, de Rugy argues that we should scrap entitlements and replace them instead with a “social safety net” that helps poor Americans of whatever age. “There’s absolutely no reason to continue paying for lots of people who have accumulated wealth their entire lives,” de Rugy tells Reason’s Nick Gillespie.