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Social Security Reform: A “Rocks and Hard Places” Story

Everyone who has been tracking the progression toward insolvency facing Social Security knows the broad scenario…without Congressional action, the Trust Fund reserves reach zero in less than a decade from now and benefits face an across-the-board cut of more than 20% cut when that happens. It’s not pretty, and it’s also not new, since the program’s trustees have been sounding the alarm for well over two decades. Despite the nearly universal knowledge that something must be done, nothing is done.

Many informed sources have been advancing proposals to address the problem, either in full or in part. In fact, there are quite a few bills introduced in each congressional session, but no progress is made. The argument typically comes down to either increasing revenue or reducing outlay, with either avenue causing political consternation. One of the frequently debated approaches is the recommendation to manage long-term system costs by extending the full retirement age (FRA), with some thoughts of extending it from 67, where it now stands for those born in 1960 or later, to 70.

Zeroing in on the FRA debate, finance reporter Josephine Nesbit offers an analysis of a recent Quinnipiac University national poll concluding that more than three-quarters of the poll respondents are not in favor of extending that parameter to age 70. Unfortunately, the same poll respondents (68% of them) reported having concerns about their financial comfort level in retirement, a dichotomy that illustrates the divergence of opinion regarding how the solvency problem should be addressed.

Read Ms. Nesbitt’s post in full here.

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