Social Security is in trouble. There is no doubting that.
And with an incoming Trump Administration, there is greater concern because of the lack of specifics as to what President Trump will do with Social Security.
In trying to find as an objective and non-partisan resource to discover what Trump has said about Social Security, I came across a few quotes from the OnTheIssues.org website…
“I’m going to save Social Security. You have tremendous waste, fraud and abuse. We have in Social Security thousands of people over 106 years old. You know they don’t exist. There’s tremendous waste, fraud and abuse, and we’re going to get it. But we’re not going to hurt the people who have been paying into Social Security their whole life and then all of a sudden they’re supposed to get less. We’re bringing jobs back.”
“Social Security faces a problem: 77 million baby boomers set to retire. Now I know there are some Republicans who would be just fine with allowing these programs to wither and die on the vine. The way they see it, Social Security and Medicare are wasteful “entitlement programs.” But people who think this way need to rethink their position. It’s not unreasonable for people who paid into a system for decades to expect to get their money’s worth–that’s not an “entitlement,” that’s honoring a deal. We as a society must also make an ironclad commitment to providing a safety net for those who can’t make one for themselves.”
There are other quotes and I would encourage you to read them at the OnTheIssues.org site here…
But there does seem to be some bi-partisan accord that changes have to come to a program that so many Americans rely upon, especially when that program is in as much of a hole as Social Security is. The number is hard to say, but most experts agree it is trillions of dollars underfunded.
Here are some of the ideas…
Make Social Security Means Based
This is a simple idea. If you have the means (meaning you make more than a certain amount or you have assets over a certain amount) you don’t get it. Plain and simple.
There are variations of this idea, as an example upper income earners would get a reduced benefit, as well. One of the more common proposals is for those in the top 25% of earners in the country would get a reduced benefit.
But you get the idea. Exactly how much of a cut would come and who would end up getting their benefits cut would be up for debate. But at the end of the day, there will have to be some form of benefit reduction.
Raise The Retirement Age for Everyone
Social Security was originally set for everyone at age 65. Then, the Social Security Amendments of 1983 (H.R. 1900, Public Law 98-21) raised that age slowly over time to age 67.
And among both Republicans and Democrats, there is agreement that the age has to be increased.
Why? Because people live longer than ever before. It’s important to remember that one of the reasons age 65 was used when originally passed in the 1930’s is because most people didn’t live to age 65.
The President who signed it into law, F.D.R., was 62 when he died, and wouldn’t have collected benefits.
But now, with longer life expectancies, people are drawing far more out of the system than was originally intended.
Therefore, expect to see an increase to age 68, at the very least, and don’t be surprised to see the age upped into the 70’s at some point.
Increase the Payroll Tax Cap on Social Security
This amount currently sits at $127,200 (as I write in 2017) and I have to say that this is a travesty.
What this means is that someone can make $1,000,000 a year or more they only pay the Social Security tax on $127,200…the rest of their income is not counted towards the Social Security tax.
If you are serious about saving Social Security, that needs to change.
I don’t know what the new limit should be (in actuality there shouldn’t be a limit) but it has to go higher.
These changes will certainly help the solvency of Social Security. But how much they help is up for debate.
I have seen studies saying that eliminating the tax cap would fix the problem entirely (personally I have my doubts it’s that simple) but regardless the above steps point the way towards a system that so many rely on.