Social Security

You would be hard pressed to find an individual who believes that the Social Security System as structured today’ is sustainable in the future.  Since the time when Social Security was established, the life expectancy for both men and women has increased by more than 10 years.  The average individual in the System today can expect to enjoy a longer life and healthier lifestyle than past generations and the expectations of longer longevity continues to move ahead.  The bad news is the current system does not provide the resources necessary to fund the additional years.

For example, lets assume you saved enough money to fund each of your 3 children’s college education.  Your oldest child decides to take 5 or 6 years to get a degree.  Would you take money, from the college fund of the younger siblings, to pay for one or two more years of college?  Probably not, instead you would insist that you child completes their degree in the required 4 years.  (I may not agree with Governor Perry on a lot of issues but he was pretty close to the mark when he called the current system a legal Ponzi Scheme.)

But here is where the analogy breaks down.  You cannot insist that an individual die according to the life expectancy that existed when social security was established.  But we need to recognize that things change.  I am delighted that my life expectancy is much greater than my father’s or grandfather’s, and I am certain they would have enjoyed a few additional years if possible.

The solutions are obvious but politically difficult to implement.  Either additional tax must be paid into the system or the retirement age must be extended over time to reflect current life expectancies.  Of course, no one wants to pay more taxes or to work additional years before collecting social security.   We are all basically selfish and seem to be willing to take money from the younger generations to fund those additional years we did not fund.  And virtually no politician has the courage to tell the American people the truth.

We will eventually “take the medicine” and solve the problem.  We have no choice.  But it will take far longer than it should.  True “leaders” always set a great example for those they lead.  Maybe we would all be more willing to accept the solutions if our “political leaders” (an obvious oxymoron) set a good example by reducing their own pension and medical benefits.

4 Comments

Filed under Life

4 responses to “Social Security

  1. I’ve invested into the SS fund over the past 15 yrs, and under the current rules have 37yrs to go before the remote possibility of a return….and the solution is to add onto that time horizon???ughhhh!!!!
    Each time I see the tax removed from my gross earnings, I get depressed and angry. PROPOSAL: I invest $5 each time into lotto tickets, and the rest just write the check directly to you and my mom…that way I have a remote possibility of a return plus I get to feel I’m not just burning my hard earned $$$$$!!!!!

  2. What about individuals getting to choose between

    A) paying more and collecting earlier
    Or
    B) paying less and collecting later

    I’d like to work for as long as I’m able-bodied, so I’d choose B

    I suppose that’s not really feasible to give people a choice, though.

  3. Charlie B

    I’m sure Dan will be adding some commentary from his friend Jose Pinera, who knows about as much about how to “fix” a nations social security system as anyone walking the planet.

  4. Sherif Balogun

    Show Me The Money! The current mandatory system is obviously not working so the next step would be to give the choice to the people. Just like the college fund is a choice of the parents to put the money aside or deal with it when it happens. This will make way for innovative companies with new ideas and ways of doing it. Less government, but the responsibilities still lies on the government to regulate the sector. Focus on a better healthcare system, but I am always in favor of taxing the billionaires, their bonuses, and lobby budgets.

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