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Fixing Social Security

In a recent article in the Sun Sentinel, the author proposes how to "adjust" Social Security by bolstering it, not cutting it as some might find more desirable. 


Our country has undergone substantive change since the enactment of Social Security, and frankly, the program itself has done little to keep up with the changes.  The addition of retirement "ages" of 62 and 70 were instituted to address the needs of women and minor mortality adjustments but there's really been little else. 

With American households dramatically under-funded for retirement, and with the advent of the end of defined benefit pensions in favor of 401(k) plans, it's not hard to see how little even the general population has done to adjust to prepare for retirement. 

While the cries of insolvency are always a concern, the fact remains that insolvency is hardly a reality either in actual or political terms. 

Nearly all but a few workers contribute 6.2% of pay to Social Security yet someone earning $400,000 a year pays 1.71% and a CEO earning $2,000,000 pays just .003%. The difference in rates is inexcusable. 

The fix then lies then not in if we index benefits, or by cutting benefits or allowing individuals to invest in the stock market, or gold or other investments. The answer lies where it has always been; funding. 

As this article portends, were we to gradually phase out the rate cap over a period of time, requiring more contributions from wealthier individuals, for the most part, the problems would be solved. 

I know, this speaks to the very heart of our shared commitment to the preservation of our economic structure.  But to my way of thinking, that's a large part of what democracy and the American way of life is about, isn't it?

The way I see it, if we can count on the greatest segment of our population to build our buildings, fix our roads and fight our wars for us, it might be nice to thank them by doing what we can to ensure that they don't live in a cardboard box during their later years. 

While to some's way of thinking, the abyss between the "haves" and "have nots" may seem like a natural order of "finance" it remains true that our "founding fathers" built a democracy based not on ramping up inequality but by doing what was necessary to prevent it. 

Here's a fix that can and should work. Which we all know means it likely won't. 

Sad as that may be.