Letter: Time to change Social Security
Under the current procedures, the Social Security Trust Fund will run out of money by 2033. That is, unless we make some changes now. The longer we wait to make changes, the more severe they will have to be.
When Social Security was first established in 1933, many folks did not live beyond 65.
Thus, there were enough workers paying into the fund to support those few who did live to a ripe old age. Today, we live a lot longer than we did in 1933, and with more retirees being supported by a lot fewer workers, we are rapidly depleting the Social Security Trust Fund.
All is not lost, however. With a few modest changes, we can ensure the continuation of the program. First, we need to raise the normal retirement age.
This should be done gradually for those 50 and below so as not to upset the plans of those approaching retirement age. Second, we need to encourage saving among our working citizens.
Social Security was never intended to be the sole support of our retirees; it was intended to be a safety net for those who were desperate. Secondly we should concentrate the payment of benefits on those who are most in need. Every retiree should receive some benefit, but the payments should be skewed towards those most in need. Thirdly, cost of living increases should be scaled down to a more realistic level, Fourth, the normal retirement age needs to be gradually increased. Fifth, the Social Security withholding cap should be increased .
Additionally, to encourage savings, the government should require supplemental savings accounts for all employees in the amount of two or three percent of gross earnings. These would stay with the individual and, in the event of his death, would pass on to his heirs.
These changes would require a small sacrifice on the part of everyone, but would ensure the survival of Social Security. It is too important a program to let it falter.
David J. Didimamoff