With all this talk of sequestration and deficits and budgets, there is a huge elephant in the room pretty much ignored by politicians who are scared out of their MINDS to even whisper it: Social Security.
What is responsible about drastic, across-the-board cuts in federal spending if we REFUSE to put Social Security and Medicare on the butcher block as well?
Why are politicians scared to talk about it? Because the generation known as Baby Boomer has our country by the you-know-whats simply because of sheer numbers. Ever since they were running around college campuses in the 1960’s this generation has gotten its own way.
And now they are retiring.
And we’ve known this day was coming for 40 years.
And we’ve refused to deal with it proactively.
According to the Social Security Administration website, life expectancy for those reaching adulthood has only increased, on average, a mere 5 years. The main problem is not life-expectancy. It is the huge size of the Baby Boomer generation, the SSA says. There are simply too many of them and not enough coming up behind to pay. http://www.ssa.gov/history/lifeexpect.html
Well, that may be, but why not start there? Raise the retirement those five years. It would be a start. In fact, I have to wonder why it hasn’t already been implemented. Apparently, nobody wants to go there. Guess why? Those Baby Boomers VOTE!
I say nobody, but that isn’t exactly true. I found this on the Heritage Foundation’s website (a conservative think-tank, for those who aren’t familiary):
While lawmakers from both parties squabble over tax rates, a fiscal crisis is looming on the horizon. Entitlement programs — Social Security and Medicare to be precise — have unfunded obligations of $48 trillion. By comparison, the fiscal cliff carries a price tag of roughly $650 billion. As lawmakers talk about another debt-limit increase, they need to think seriously about America’s long-term obligations.
(click the quote to read the entire article)
The article goes on to outline three solutions.
1)Fix the annual adjustment rate to reflect true inflation rates
2)Increase the retirement age to 68 and then link it to life expectancy
3)Focus benefits on those who need it–as originally intended.
So as not to be one-sided, let’s take a look at a progressive plan to fix the problem. The Center for American Progress (a liberal think-tank) published this:
Is there room in Washington for a true bipartisan agreement on Social Security reform that increases national savings, individual ownership, and ultimately retirement security? It’s a tall order, but doable if both progressives and the president are willing to consider the following four-part framework for bipartisan Social Security reform:
At least they are talking about it! But what of their proposals? I have to admit I found them to be rather convoluted, but I’ll try to simplify. Come on progressives, ya’ gotta dumb it down a little for the average American. But here goes.
1)A universal 401K plan with matching dollars provided by the U.S. Government.This would also include a flat-tax savings deduction on income taxes.
2)Increase taxes on the rich
3)Balance the budget and in good years, save the money, don’t spend it.
Gasp! Cooperation? What a novel idea!
Once again, I believe it all comes down to power and politics, and both political parties are equally to blame. It’s time for those of us in the middle to move ever more firmly into the middle and to begin to encourage others on the near left and right to join us. We should not be held hostage to two over-reaching political parties that are over-influenced by the power elite and money elite on both sides with their deep pockets and bribery.
It is also imperative that the younger generations band together on this and other issues in order to have equal voice at the ballot box. If we don’t vote, the large voting block of Baby Boomers will stomp all over us, leaving us with huge debts, a decimated economy, and a bleak future.
Social entitlements to the Baby Boomer generation is the big, gray, wrinkled elephant in the room. There it is. Take a good look. Now what are we gonna do about it?
Maybe it is time we go back to some good old-fashioned values and begin to take care of our own elderly again, and then begin to reduce the entitlement spending. Again, smaller and more local control is better, less complex, and therefore more manageable. Local communities can (and will, if necessary) take care of their own.
I see consensus up there on those ideas for changing Social Security. You have a Progressive think-tank talking about balancing the budget and saving money. You have a Conservative think-tank talking about giving benefits only to those who need it. I bet both would agree to raising the retirement age incrementally. The only thing left, really, is to stop playing politics and cooperate! We the people need to demand it of our representatives.
Pass the word, write to your representatives in Congress, and talk…and consider switching to an alternative political party or declare yourself an Independent. That’s what I’m gonna do, asap. It’s time.