Actually, there’s more crassness in this world than is dreamed of in most professors’ philosophy. But still, Smith is right that this is mostly not an explicitly cynical calculation, more a matter of tout le monde, as Tom Wolfe would say — meaning a narrow circle of People Like Us — doesn’t care about Social Security, so it’s hard to grasp how much it matters to others. Yglesias points us to a chart:
via NYTimes.com – Not Crass, Class. Social Security composes 83.2% of the first income quintille’s income, even up to fourth quintille it’s 43.6%, only at the top quintille is it 17.9%. This possibly more than anything else makes the point of how cutting Social Security benefits is absolutely devastating for anyone but the absolutely top percentile of retirees.