“It is impossible under any social insurance system to provide ideal security for every individual. The practical objective is to pay benefits that provide a minimum degree of social security—as a basis upon which the worker, through his own efforts, will have a better chance to provide adequately for his individual security.” — From the Report of the Social Security Board recommending the changes which were embodied in the 1939 Amendments.
How did we get from “minimum degree of social security-as a basis” to 50% of married couples and 71% of single persons relying on Social Security for 50% or more of their income and 23% and 43% relying on SS for 90% or more of their income?
It cannot be that 50% of couples and 71% of singles were poor and unable to save their entire lives. It can be that a good percentage of these Americans lived in the moment and failed to plan for the future.
We look at the average Social Security benefit and say; oh my, we need to improve Social Security. Wait a minute, that average includes people retired many years, people who had less of an opportunity to use the many tax-advantaged tools available today.
Why do we want to increase Social Security benefits, increase taxes to pay for them and add additional liabilities to the program based on the past? People should be less dependent on Social Security in the future, not more. But I doubt many people want to hear that message.
Just how much of their financial security do Americans want to risk to the whims of Congress now and in the future?