Not Addressing Social Security Insolvency Equals Disaster, Says CRFB - Money.com, Investopedia, The Hill
So much has been written about Social Security’s evolving financial crisis, and yet not much has surfaced in terms of a bipartisan approach to addressing the problem. As most who follow this topic know, the clock is ticking louder each day toward the projected full depletion of the program’s trust fund reserves, now less than a decade away. Seniors currently drawing their earned Social Security benefits are worried, and many of those who are not eligible to receive benefits are steadily losing faith in the program’s future. As examples of this growing discontent, Investopedia reported just yesterday that “three-quarters of U.S. adults over 50 believe Social Security will run out of money in their lifetime,” while TheHill.com reports that “Nearly half of Gen Zers think they won’t ‘get a dime’ in Social Security.”
In a post on Money.com, reporter Mary Ellen Cagnassola examines the overall insolvency issue, using information from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) to frame the problem’s magnitude. As her post points out, 2024 presidential candidates who avoid setting forth a plan to address the matter are “implicitly endorsing a 23 percent across-the-board benefit cut for the 70 million retirees when the Social Security retirement trust fund reaches insolvency in just a decade.” So far in the months ahead of the official kickoff of the presidential race, only candidate Chris Christie has made reference to specific steps to address the shortfall.
Ms. Cagnassola’s post, which you can read in full here, provides a recap of the manner in which Social Security benefits are funded and discusses the political aspects of achieving a bipartisan solution. In terms of next steps, she notes that while lawmakers still have a dwindling amount of time to develop a solution, there can be some solace in the historical fact that Social Security “payments have never been cut, suspended or delayed due to a failure by Congress to pass legislation in time.”
What’s really needed, of course, is careful evaluation of proposals and bipartisan compromise, and this is needed quickly. The longer it takes to achieve a resolution, the more traumatic the “fixes” will need to be. Considering the future, keep in mind that the 118th Congress, like many of the preceding congressional sessions, continues to see proposals to reform Social Security in the face of the insolvency dilemma. 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 without tax increases by slight modifications to cost-of-living adjustments and payments to high-income beneficiaries plus gradually increasing the full (but not early) retirement age. AMAC Action, AMAC’s advocacy arm, supports an increase in the threshold where benefits are taxed and then indexed for inflation, and calls for eliminating the reduction in people’s benefits for those choosing to work before full retirement age. AMAC is resolute in its mission that Social Security be preserved for current and successive generations and has gotten the attention of lawmakers in D.C., meeting with many congressional offices and staff over the past decade.