PayGo NoWork

Here is Brad DeLong’s reason number 4 to favor private accounts for social security:

We need to raise our national savings rate. But if we just raise Social
Security taxes, Congress will treat these taxes as general revenue and
spend them. Only by funneling Social Security contributions into some
vehicle that Congressional representatives cannot interpret as a
resource available to fund current spending can we raise the national
savings rate. And private accounts are the best vehicle we can find to
(a) accumulate contributions without (b) allowing Congressional
representatives to seize them as resources available to fund current
federal spending.

That reason receives new support from Nataraj and Shoven who present evidence that:

…the trust fund build-up may not help future generations due to the
adoption of the Unified Budget in 1970. The Unified Budget includes
trust fund receipts as income and trust fund payments as expenditures.
The empirical evidence suggests that attempts to balance the Unified
Budget while the trust funds were generating surpluses has led to
increased government spending and personal and corporation income tax
cuts within the rest of the federal government. There is no evidence of
increased government saving as a result of the trust fund accumulations.


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