House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio has stirred up a controversy with his statements about the future of Social Security!
There is no question that the problem of the future of Social Security is a crucial one, that desperately needs to be dealt with in a serious manner, as it was in 1983!
That year, President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill negotiated an agreement which governs Social Security ever since then. Despite their political and ideological differences, the two men and their party members recognized the need for Social Security reform.
Sadly, the reforms of 1983 were not enough to solve the problem for the long term, meaning to the end of the 21st century, but it did solve the problem to the mid point of this century. As a result, people born in 1943 and after had to wait to age 66 to receive full benefits, and those born in 1960 and after had to wait until age 67. But these people were given plenty of notice in order to plan their futures, and age 62 remained the minimum age to receive lower Social Security benefits!
Now, John Boehner has proposed that the Social Security age be raised to 70 for those twenty or more years from retirement, meaning those born after 1970. He also suggested that although everyone pays in, that those who are wealthy give up the benefit as they do not need it! He also stated that this sacrifice would help finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!
The uproar is massive, but Boehner is not totally wrong in what he advocates!
There has long been a reality to recognize the need to raise the retirement age long term. What makes more sense, however, is the following proposal: Raise the retirement age to age 68 for those born in 1970 and after; to age 69 for those born in 1980 and after; and to age 70 for those born in 1990 and after!
This means that people now 40 and under would understand that the age is 68; that people now 30 and under would know that the age is 69; and that people now 20 and under would accept that the age is 70 for full retirement benefits! This gives all these groups plenty of years to plan ahead!
Also, we need to face the facts that age longevity is growing, and now with national health care, it should improve further, so there is no reason that people cannot work to the older ages if they wish! But always, they can retire as early as age 62 at lower benefits!
But beyond this reform, should wealthier people give up their benefit? The answer is NO, as they have contributed to Social Security and should be entitled to the proceeds of their efforts! There should NOT be a means test for Social Security!
But to help finance the long run future of Social Security, the limit of Social Security contributions should be lifted to cover ALL wages, just as is with Medicare! That will supply a much larger amount of funding from the growing percentage of people earning much more than $106,800, the present limit!
Finally, should Social Security be linked to support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Absolutely NO, as the plan should be to withdraw from both wars as soon as possible, as neither has contributed one iota to our security and safety after September 11!
So John Boehner has contributed to the debate over Social Security, but what has been suggested by the author is a much better solution to the long term future of Social Security and its recipients!
We must not have young people thinking that they will see the demise of Social Security, therefore lowering their desire to want to see it continue!
When Social Security was started 75 years ago, it was seen as a contract with the American people to give an element of peace of mind to senior citizens and widows and orphans. It is a social contract that cannot be allowed to be broken!
So the only way to protect and preserve it is do what is suggested above, and also NOT to invest it in the unstable stock market! That is a person’s private choice with other funds, but not with their Social Security contributions!