What Americans pay into Medicare and Social Security and what they get back (pdf):
Money quote from the report:
As the discussion of needed reforms proceeds, a common demand will be that future retirees get back what they have paid into the systems. But reducing these complex discussions to a debate over “money’s worth” ignores the grim reality of the programs’ finances today, as well as the fact that these programs have always transferred money between individuals – both within, and more importantly, across generations. Our work has shown that current and near-term retirees can expect to receive benefits well above their contributions, financed by current and future workers who have little hope of realizing the same level of return on their taxes due to the economic and demographic forces that are working against them.
Don Taylor focuses on "the profound subsidy of marriage that is inherent in how Social Security determines benefits for spouses who do not pay Social Security taxes in earlier life."