Why not ask wealthy Americans if they’ll forgo Social Security?

In the Sunday Review-Journal, Mitch Daniels wrote a thought-provoking commentary about Social Security and the handling of other entitlements. One question he asks rhetorically is: “Why do we send retirement checks to Warren Buffet”?

Over the last several years, I have asked well more than 100 friends and associates — who are receiving monthly Social Security checks but are wealthy enough to not need them — the following question: If you were able to opt out of Social Security benefits but were able to easily opt back in if your situation changed, would you? Almost every person said yes, provided opting back in were easy enough.

What we determined was that nobody wants to be told — especially by the government — what to do. As in “you’re not going to receive benefits because you don’t need them.” If asked if they were willing to consider an alternative, however, the response was overwhelming.

How much would this save annually? I have no idea. Tens of millions, perhaps? But before politicians create more havoc and problems, how about trying something novel? Just ask.

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