Did the government make a Social Security goof?
Academics warn that agency officials are using outdated calculations and have severely overestimated the money available for retirees.
The fiscal cliff has been averted for the moment, and Congress is continuing its latest game of financial chicken with a new target in sight: the upcoming debt ceiling. But two academics say all this political brawling is taking attention away from another crisis looming on the nation's horizon: Social Security.
Samir Soneji is a demographer and professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and Gary King is a professor of government at Harvard. On Sunday, the two boiled down their recent findings in an opinion piece for the New York Times.
According to King and Soneji, the Social Security Administration has grossly underestimated the money it needs for retiring Americans "to the tune of $800 billion by 2031, more than the current annual defense budget."
And if nothing is done, they say, the Social Security trust fund will run out two years ahead of current government predictions.
The professors say two major issues have led to these serious miscalculations.
The government’s forecasting methods for Social Security have barely changed since the program’s creation during the Great Depression -- "even as a revolution in big data and statistics has transformed everything from baseball to retailing."
And that outdated mode of forecasting, the professors note, has failed to take into account crucial factors about longevity -- especially the fact that Americans are living longer and healthier lives. Better treatment of cardiovascular diseases and a dramatic decline in smoking, they say, "are adding years of life that the government hasn’t accounted for."
The professors believe the nation faces some stark choices if Social Security is to be saved. Among the options they suggest are raising the retirement age to as high as 69 or 70, increasing payroll taxes, limiting annual cost-of-living adjustments and reducing benefits.
They also point to new research that suggests that retirement, while popular, may in itself reduce a person’s life span "by breaking lifelong routines and disrupting deep social connections." And with that research in mind, they wonder if retirement should be optional.
Given modern demographics and statistical analysis, professors Soneji and King think now is a great time to open a public debate about Social Security’s future. The constant political bickering in Congress may make this suggestion seem odd, they say -- but "the longer we ignore the problem," they warn, "the more disruptive any change will need to be to keep Social Security alive."
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In the last 3 years I have not recieved any pay raises. This last year I recieved a 2% increase which now goes to social security. Do you think I will get that 2% back when I collect MY social security after 30 + yeras of paying into it. Dont think so!!! Its time the American people demand that ouir government pay back what was stolen from our SS fund. This was the peoples money, not the governments to use at will. Dont tell me I have to wait till im 69 or 70 to get what is rightfully mine. Let me draw out what I put into it, plus interest!!!!
I have worked since I was 13. For anyone to suggest that I should work to 69 or 70 is an idiot. I have a 401K and when my time comes SS, I hope. I worked for this and should receive it. Let those who didn't work for it be cut from SS, not the ones that did pay for it.
With the amount of money I have paid into SS over the years, if it was saved properly, I should be a millionare. The government has squandered it. Since the politicians need more money they should plunder their own pension plans to pay for the great embezzlement of SS. i don't want to pay more, work more, or receive less than what I am due... Not one dime less.
get rid of obamacare and put the money back the SOB stole, simple. just do it, he took it from the American people, put it back POS. sick of this crap stealing our money to fund his crap affordable healthcare, right look what it costs now compared before he made it affordable. idiot's, damn country going to hell being run by idiots on the lib side.
I understand there are concerns about the longevity of social security money. Besides the presumed short falls of this Federal Govt program, which as some have already stated, the Govt already borrowed funds from that account, we should seriously receive compensation from foreign governments who seek our military intervention. Our military should have been and still should be compensated for action in Iraq, Kuwait, etc etc. And we are talking about our Federal Govt being compensated with GOLD,SILVER and OIL. Why is the United States paying completely for all this deployment cost? With that added revenue to the Federal bank account, we would have a lower defecit. and a new source of revenue. Wow what a concept!
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