A Call to Strengthen & Expand Social Security – Even in the Face of Insolvency - AMAC & The Hill
Max Richtman’s op-ed in The Hill chronicles the history of Social Security from its passage in 1935 to the current time. He notes the program has expanded many times along the way, mainly to cover more workers, such as domestic and agricultural workers and then the disabled. Richtman notes the program has been stagnant since bipartisan reforms in 1983 raised taxes and increased the full retirement age two years (which he calls a benefit cut). The author claims there is too much emphasis on the program’s long term solvency. Thus his piece is a call to pay people more and to endorse passage of Rep. John Larson’s (D-CT) Social Security 2100 Act. An alternate view might caution that Social Security is not welfare, that there are reasons why benefits are low for some (they worked little and/or for low pay), and that across the board cuts of 23% are due for all in just over a decade unless taxes are raised, benefits are cut, or the retirement age goes up. Lost in the op-ed is any mention that people live 20 years longer than in 1935 and that families have far fewer children or that Social Security beneficiaries get back every dollar they ever put in plus interest in about 4 years (which all explain the looming insolvency). Who, including FDR himself, could have ever contemplated someone receiving a monthly check from age 62 to 100 (38 years of one’s life– longer than working)? In short, demographics are straining a program that FDR noted in 1938 “does not offer anyone an easy life– nor was it ever intended so to do.” Full op-ed here.
The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) believes Social Security must be preserved and modernized. This can be achieved with no tax increases by changing cost of living adjustments, the retirement age, and delayed credits. AMAC advocates for a bipartisan compromise, “The Social Security Guarantee Act,” taking selected portions of bills introduced by former Rep. Johnson (R-TX) and current Rep. Larson (D-CT) and merging them with the Association’s own research. One component is Social Security PLUS, a voluntary plan to allow all earners to have more income at retirement. This component is intended to appeal especially to younger workers. AMAC is resolute in its mission that Social Security be preserved and modernized and has gotten the attention of lawmakers in DC, meeting with a great many congressional offices and their staffs over the past several years. Read AMAC’s plan here.