Solving the Social Security problem…really

Now that the Trustees have again warned of the declining status of Social Security the rhetoric and finger pointing will begin and the AARP will ramp up its misleading advertising designed to rile up us seniors. What a shame we don’t put our resources to more productive use.

Many ways to deal with the long-term problems of Social Security have been studied and proposed. They do not destroy Social Security, they do not cut the benefits of current beneficiaries or those near retirement. These steps have been proposed by several commissions, some politicians and independent researchers.

Here we sit in 2012 knowing what is coming and doing nothing other than play politics.

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign used the new data to attack Mr. Romney, with spokesman Ben LaBolt saying the former Massachusetts governor would make “devastating cuts to Medicare and Social Security” which “would end America’s social compact with our seniors.”

The fact is we must do something. The fact is that “something” can be rather modest if it is done soon and the fact is nobody’s current or earned benefits need to be cut.

We need to adjust the full retirement age to reflect a rising life span, we need to adjust future ways of calculating cost of living adjustments and how they are applied and perhaps we need to adjust the payroll tax for some workers.

Does any of that sound draconian, does any of it affect those of us collecting benefits?

Talk about ending America’s social compact with our seniors, do nothing and that compact will surely end.

We should be supporting the politicians who act quickly and responsibly rather than threatening them at the polls as the AARP suggests.

Also read this previous post on fixing Social Security


  1. Obama joins a long, long list of folks who had opportunities to adjust benefits but, generally, opted to increase the liabilities instead (last real attempt – The Social Security Amendments Act of 1983 – President Reagan):
    Reagan – Bush 1 – Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, and I believe Bush I started the cost shift with DRG’s, RBRVS and balance billing limits,
    Clinton – Blue Ribbon panel, plus gave us the Sustainable Growth Rate issue,
    Bush II – First added $10+T in one bill, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, then ducked social security reform in his second term…

    Just google the words “pelosi and social security” – you get 6MM demagogue entries….


  2. You are correct. The President had the opportunity last year to endorse at least some of the Simpson-Bowles recommendations to fix Social Security. That commission, which the President established, came up with changes to SS which were significant but not drastic.
    Unfortunately, the President demonstrated that he is a primarily and foremost a politician rather than a political leader.


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