Wealthy Vlogger Ben Shapiro Calls Social Security a ‘Ponzi Scheme,’ Says Retirement Is ‘Stupid’

Wealthy Vlogger Ben Shapiro Calls Social Security a ‘Ponzi Scheme,’ Says Retirement Is ‘Stupid’

Ben Shapiro says a lot of dumb things. One dumb thing he said recently was that he disagrees with the concept of retirement and doesn’t think Americans should do it. This was definitely a “mask off” moment for Shapiro, who spends a lot of time trying to convince everyday people that he’s just like them and has their best interests at heart. In reality, Shapiro is just a rich guy, and like a lot of rich people, he doesn’t understand what it’s like to be poor or middle-class.

During a segment of his immensely popular rightwing show The Daily Wire, Shapiro recently said: “It’s insane that we haven’t raised the retirement age…No one in the U.S. should be retiring at 65 years old. Frankly, I think retirement itself is a stupid idea unless you have some sort of health problem.”

Shapiro continued his rant down a similarly odd path: “Everybody that I know who is elderly, who is retired, is dead within five years. If you talk to people who are elderly who lose their purpose in life by losing their job and they stop working, things go to hell in a handbasket real quick.”

Very interesting, Ben. Weirdly enough, I know a lot of people who have been retired for many years and are really enjoying themselves. Maybe they’re secretly hankering to take a part-time job as a greeter at Walmart, though. You never know. Maybe that would give their life more “meaning” or whatever.

After making the retirement-leads-to-an-early-grave argument, Shapiro then pivoted to a very familiar libertarian talking point, which is that using the government to take care of people is just way too expensive. Better to defund the federal welfare system and just let the public work forever:

“Just on a fiscal level, and on a logical level, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt established 65 as the retirement age, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 63 years old. Today, the average life expectancy in the U.S. is close to 80. It’s totally insane that you believe you should be able to work from the time when you are essentially 20 to the time when you are 65—which is a 45 year period—pay in, and then you will receive Social Security benefits to support you and your family, your wife or whatever, for like another 28 years—that’s crazy talk. That is not fiscally sustainable.”

Shapiro not understanding the concept of retirement makes a lot of sense. After all, Shapiro’s “job” is barely a job. Sitting in front of a camera and spouting off about how the woke mob is ruining America does not really qualify as arduous labor. How much does Shapiro make from doing this sort of thing? It’s unclear. Online estimates claim his media company is worth tens of millions of dollars. The guy recently listed one of his Los Angeles homes on the market for $2.9 million. Suffice it to say he’s not exactly living paycheck to paycheck.

After catching flack online for his views—even from some of his own followers—Shapiro felt compelled to issue a follow-up to his original anti-retirement screed. He didn’t really back down from his original point, though. “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme that is 100% going to bankrupt the country,” Shapiro wrote on Twitter. During another 20-minute video, Shapiro continued to call FDR’s landmark social welfare program a “scheme” and rant about how it was unsustainable and would bankrupt the nation.

Experts have already noted that there is nothing fundamentally unstable about federal entitlement programs and that, given a revamped funding plan passed by Congress, the programs can be sustained indefinitely. It isn’t some sort of anomalous threat to the national debt. In fact, one of the biggest recent additions to the national debt was incurred by the Trump administration when it gave massive tax breaks to the nation’s wealthiest—people like Shapiro.

I’d like to take Shapiro’s idea seriously though. I believe in rationality, just as Shapiro ostensibly does. To prove something, you first need to do some trial and error. As such, I suggest an experiment: I would like to challenge Shapiro to lead by example and work until he is in his nineties. Except, to make things fair, he should eschew his cushy vlogger job and, instead, live and work like the average American does. The median household income in the U.S. is something like $74,000 a year. If Ben Shapiro promises to work at a job that supplies approximately half of that—maybe contracting for DoorDash or Uber—for the next 40 to 45 years (or until he collapses from exhaustion), then maybe I will consider his point of view. Otherwise, he just sounds like an out-of-touch rich guy who’s never struggled a day in his life.

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