Can Social Security survive?
Despite its flaws and uncertain political future, some people argue it's successfully keeping millions of Americans out of poverty.
Remember the War on Poverty? Next year will be the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's landmark program of antipoverty legislation that brought about the creation of food stamps, Head Start, various job-training projects, urban renewal and the Social Security amendments that created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
Late last month, the House of Representative's Committee on the Budget held a hearing called "The War on Poverty: A Progress Report." In an opening statement, committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the U.S. has spent more than $15 trillion trying to bring people out of poverty while raising the level of prosperity -- with little to show for it.
While Ryan's figures have been disputed, they've also fueled the ongoing debate about Social Security's future.
Last spring, both sides of the politician spectrum criticized an Obama Administration plan to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits. Some Republicans have attacked Social Security as a failed government entitlement program, which Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry famously called a "Ponzi scheme" in 2011. Earlier this year, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was quoted in The Hill calling the Obama plan a "shocking attack on seniors."
Thirty years ago, with bipartisan backing, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation aimed at ensuring Social Security's solvency. "This bill demonstrates for all time our nation's ironclad commitment to social security," he said at the time. "It assures the elderly that America will always keep the promises made in troubled times a half a century ago. It assures those who are still working that they, too, have a pact with the future."
And while the economy may be slowly recovering from a devastating recession, it's the future -- and not the uncertain present -- that worries many Americans. As tax attorney Paula Singer recently pointed out in the Christian Science Monitor, 10,000 Americans are currently reaching retirement age every day, and many of those baby boomers have been investing in Social Security since they entered the work force decades ago.
While Social Security is far from perfect and it's future is still in doubt, many still swear by it. Just before that House Budget Committee hearing last month, Elise Gould, director of health policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, called Social Security the nation's most effective antipoverty program.
"Without Social Security," she said on the EPI's website, "an additional 8.3% of Americans, or over 25 million more people, would fall below the SPM (Supplemental Poverty Measure) poverty threshold. Refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, kept 2.5%, or nearly 8 million Americans, above the SPM poverty threshold. Other programs such as SNAP (food stamps), unemployment insurance, Supplemental Security Income, and housing subsidies also have a significant impact on the ability of families to stay afloat."
Clearly, a lot is at stake as the battle over Social Security's future gets hotter.
Congress needs to be put in check by term limits and they should be made to be subject to all laws that they pass. Congress should have to retire on Social Security, Medicare and or Obama Care. Congress should not be able to vote themselves pay raises and current pay structure should be amended to discontinue automatic pay raises that are already in place. These entitlements to pay raises and plush retirement for Congress must stop now. When they, Congress, get this mess straightened out, then we will look at the pay structure. As for now they should get a pay cut until they get their act together.
Stop placing the fix on the tax payers who paid into the system. Make the Congressional thieves pay back what they have stolen from our heritage. The solution must not be raising our taxes or extending the retirement age.
If Congress can not fix this mess that they made, then stop taking the money from us and let us spend it how we choose.
A TREASURY BOND IS A PROMISE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO PAY BACK INTEREST ON BORROWED MONEY. THE MONEY IS USED TO FINANCE GOVERNMENTS STUPID PORK PROJECTS LIKE BRIDGES TO NOWHERE. IT IS COVERED BY TAXING US. WE WE ARE PAYING TAXES TWICE. ONCE WHEN WE PUT IN SSI TAXES AND AGAIN TO PAY INTEREST FOR BONDS. SEEMS TO ME, WE SHOULD MAKE THE SSI TRUST FUND NOT AVAILABLE FOR FEDERAL USE(THIS WAS THE WAY IT STARTED OUT IN 75 OR MORE YEARS AGO) AND INVEST THE MONEY IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY.
The original intent of Supplemental Security Insurance, SSI, was to SUPPLEMENT retirement savings by the individual, not give them a government retirement. HOW CORRUPT IT HAS BECOME.
If the money that was taken from me by the Federal government for SSI had been invested in the stock market over the 52 years I contributed at a rate of 6%, about what the market yields on an average, I would have one half to one million dollars. THE IDIOTS IN CONGRESS ARE SCREWED US BY PUTTING SSI IN THE GENERAL FUND.
GET RID OF ALL CONGRESS CRITTERS AND GET A NEW BUNCH. TRAIN THESE RIGHT. NO FULL RETIREMENT AFTER 4 YEARS. iF SSI IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR US, IT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM. NO SWEETHEART MEDICAL FOR THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES, MEDICARE / MEDICAD IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR US AND THEM. NO $170,000/YR PAY. GIVE THEM THE AVERAGE INCOME OF THE COUNTRY THAT WAY THEY WILL HAVE THE INVENTIVE TO RAISE PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY BECAUSE THEY WON'T GET MORE UNTIL THEY DO!!!!!
NO AMNESTY OR YOU WILL GET NOTHING COME 65
Fred is a little overdramatic, but he hits the main point about the promise made to him during the 50 years of his contributions. Those of us essentially paying for him now can't just say "he's on his own and we don't want to do it." Especially since, he paid for the generation prior to his. That's the bargain and that's the arrangement. Until it changes and a realistic transition plan is in place, we have to abide by that responsibility.
I'm just surprised the seniors haven't already marched on D.C. with pitchforks and torches in hand.
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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