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.