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Saving Social Security in the 21st Century

Sep 29, 2015 | NOTICIAS

With Americans now living longer than ever before, the strain on Social Security’s finances is steadily increasing. We also have too few workers paying into the Social Security program, leaving it unable to fully finance the benefits promised to retirees. This is exacerbated by the fact that the labor-force-participation rate is lower than it has been in over 30 years. As a result, the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund will have its reserves depleted as early as next year. When this happens, the fund will only be able to provide 81 percent of scheduled benefits. Avoiding a cut in benefits will cost nearly $30 billion a year. Congress must act to avoid an automatic cut in benefits for disabled Americans.
Social Security is too important for us to allow it to decay any further. We must transform this endangered system into a modern program that can meet the needs of our people in the 21st century. To this end, I have proposed several reforms to sustain and modernize Social Security, and help people plan for their retirement.
First, we must gradually increase the retirement age for individuals under 55, without changing it for current seniors like my mom. It is important that we keep our promises to current beneficiaries and those nearing retirement, but for Americans closer to my age, we need to have an honest conversation about saving Social Security. With the average American working longer than when Social Security was first conceived, it’ll take some changes to keep Social Security solvent and responsive to Americans’ needs.
Second, we should do more to protect seniors on the bottom of the income scale, who are too often consigned to poverty in old age. This can be done by reducing the growth of benefits for upper income seniors while making the program even stronger for lower-income seniors. This is not a cut, but simply a reduction in the growth of benefits for wealthier retirees.
Finally, we must empower our people to save more for retirement. Social Security should be one component of retirement security along with employment-based plans and personal financial assets like IRAs, mutual funds, and personal savings accounts. Americans should also be able to save for retirement without paying taxes on their retirement investments. My tax-reform plan eliminates taxes on interest, capital gains and dividends. Educating Americans on the benefits associated with retirement saving and planning is also important.

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