There is a serious movement in Congress to raise the age of eligibility for receiving Social Security. Social Securiy benefits are solvent for thirty years and then after that point can be paid out at 75% under the current system. With modest reforms, we can strengthen Social Security for future generations without needing to raise the retirement age, period.
Social Security was establish in the 1930’s to provide a limited “safety net” for individuals who worked but had limited income when they retired. It was never expected to be a full retirement income. The proposal is to, in steps, to raise the eligibility are from 65 to 69. It is noted that since Americans life spans have increased since the advent of Social Security, and most Americans are healthier, that making seniors work, or at least not receive the benefit until they are 69 is OK.
Unfortunately, our legislators, who by the way decide on their own incomes and pensions, are living in a fools paradise. Thus their folly. Just look at some of the current facts. It is decidely true that Social Security does not have enough money coming in to sustain the benefits. But why is that true? First of couse is the continuing erosion of JOBS. There are more than 9% of potential workers unemployed and another 10% out of the job market and at least another 10% underemployed. That’s just facts today. But the follies go deeper. In the past 20 years, pensions received from employment declined. The experiment for having workers purchase their own pensions through IRA’s and other vehicles in the “stock market” have failed. They failed because our Government saved, first the Savings Institutions in the 1990’s and the Banks in 2008. No one bothered to consider the “pension” plans that constituted the long range retirement plan of workers.
Then of course our Legislators are mired in the 20th century. There was a time when workers had jobs that lasted for 40 or 45 years. They retired, got the company watch, had a small pension and at 65 were able to supliment that pension with Social Security. In the 21st Century, no one, except maybe our Legislators can assume anywhere that long longevity in any job. Futurists tell us that people starting out now can expect to have from three to five different job in their working lives. As they shift from job to job, just simple logic says, that as they grow older they will find jobs more and more difficult to find. With the current pension situation and the failure of self owned pensioned, it looks like they will need that safety net, not later but perhaps even sooner.
If the Congress is really sincere about saving Social Security as a safety net there is a simple solution. Rather than raising the age, just do two things. Reduce FICA to 2 or 3% and Scrap the Cap!