Straight talk on Social Security – even if the truth hurts
Cal Thomas’ candid op-ed in Townhall addresses the drivers of budget deficits and our $22.3 trillion national debt. In this piece, he summarizes and evaluates The Heritage Foundation’s “Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for Fiscal 2020,” which is based on verifiable facts. Thomas acknowledges members of Congress know that entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable but that virtually none want to reform them for fear of attacks by the media and by their political opponents. Similarly, most Americans have no idea the amount they pay into Social Security and Medicare does not come close to covering the programs’ actual costs. The “Blueprint” summarizes the problem: “Entitlement programs in the United States have expanded more than tenfold since their inception, but workers are nowhere near 10 times better off as a result … they often make them worse off, depriving them of autonomy, personal choice, and higher incomes and saddling them with a mountain of debt. Medicare and Social Security carry $70 trillion worth of unfunded obligations over the next 75 years — the equivalent of a $445,000 credit card bill placed on every U.S. worker.”
Thomas reviews some of the potential “fixes” as follows: increase Social Security’s retirement age and index it to life expectancy; shift Social Security more toward an antipoverty benefit that benefits those who need the money; modernize the program’s spousal benefit to account for the fact that most women earn Social Security benefits based on their own work history; use the chained consumer price index (CPI) for Social Security’s benefit calculations to provide a better adjustment for inflation; reduce the payroll tax to give workers more choice in deciding how to spend or save their earnings. Read the complete op-ed here.
The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) believes Social Security must be preserved and modernized. This can be achieved by making modest changes in cost of living adjustments and the retirement age, with no additional taxes on workers. 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 well researched ideas. One component is Social Security PLUS, a new, voluntary plan that would allow all earners to have more income available 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.