Citizen Activists Join the Fight to Ward Off Social Security Insolvency - Wisconsin Examiner; AMAC

In an interesting display of public attention to the looming insolvency problem facing Social Security, union representatives and retiree activists in Wisconsin are focusing on the program’s current operations and its future. For the past two months, a regiment of program supporters have staged multiple demonstrations in the vicinity of Social Security offices in the state, with their message being two-fold: Increase support for the Social Security Administration (SSA) in its service to the public, and take action to deal with the projected trust fund depletion and benefit cut facing the program in less than a decade.

On the service issue, the demonstrations encourage increased financial support for the SSA’s operations, citing the agency’s inability to keep up with the growth in demand for services. Today’s low point in staffing, “has caused frustrating delays as new retirees or people newly applying for disability payments file claims, then wait for confirmation that they qualify. People already enrolled also have encountered delays,” according to a post by Wisconsin Examiner Deputy Editor Erik Gunn today. Click here to read his post.

On the issue of Social Security’s insolvency projections, Gunn’s post cites American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council 220 official Jessica LaPointe’s explanation that the demonstrations are intended to help educate the public on the program’s history and what could be done to sustain it for future generations. With respect to specific recommendations to address the insolvency issue, Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans–a group participating in the demonstrations–seeks to “raise the maximum income that is subject to the Social Security payroll tax.”

The outpouring of public activism can be viewed as a natural progression of concern for a system so critical to America’s senior population. The alarm bell has been ringing for decades, calling for corrective measures in a program that needs adjustment to cope with 21st-century economics. Much has been written about steps that could be considered to address the problem, but no substantive changes have been made since the early 1980s. As an example of the leading thoughts on reforming Social Security, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC, Inc.) believes Social Security must be preserved and modernized.  This can be achieved through slight modifications to cost-of-living adjustments and payments to high-income beneficiaries plus gradually increasing the full (but not early) retirement age.  AMAC supports an increase in the threshold where benefits are taxed and then indexed for inflation and calls for eliminating the reduction in benefits for those choosing to work before full retirement age. Summaries of the AMAC position–the AMAC Social Security Guarantee–can be viewed at

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