We Are “Thelma and Louise”
We have started a "'Thelma and Louise" death plunge drive towards the rim of the Grand Canyon. Our federal elected officials are not steering us away from the tragic end.
For years we have known without adjustments to Social Security, it won't be secure and probably won't be social. Numerous studies, partisan and non-partisan have shown ways to avoid catastrophe. Very small adjustments have been taken to keep the "car" going forward, but we are still heading for the edge at greater speed.
The lack of solutions is because of a lack of leadership, and courage. No federal politicians want to admit they are driving the car that is on a crash course towards the inevitable very painful end.
Is there a Republican way to drive it? Is there a Democrat way? The problem today is none of them want to abandon party dogma and find the " American" way. You remember the days when we did the greatest good for the greatest numbers with sacrifice and compromise from all affected parties? The longer our elected brain trust does nothing the quicker the death plunge.
We know it.
They know it.
Yet we all seem unable to grasp the severity of the dive over the edge, and correct it.
My ideas are simple and taken from various experts paid by the taxpayers to deal with it.
Eliminate or set a new rate for raising the cap on earnings. Currently the cap is adjusted by inflation each year. If we adjusted the cap by double the rate of inflation or $5,000 annually, which ever is less, or eliminated it completely, that should go a long way towards fixing the problem. Today people earning more than approx. 110k stop paying in at 110k. According to various studies, total elimination of the cap would solve about 70% of the shortfall problem.
Gradually raise the age at which people can draw. (Notice I did not say "retire.") As an example, for people under 50, raise the age by two months per year. So today's 50 year olds could start drawing their full amount when they are 67 and 8 months. A 30 year old could draw the full amount when they are 72. If they want to draw sooner they can, but with reduced benefits. My thinking is this: We need to encourage personal saving for retirement with much more focus and enthusiasm. Relying on Social Security as the main source for elder living expenses is obviously not the right plan. Also, as we get closer to the end of our life we will need more money to stay healthy.
Eliminate the $250 death benefit now. It is an insult and doesn't pay for anything.
Finally, adjustments in earnings should be 1% less than the rate of inflation. Yes, I wrote 1% less!! This action will be a strong message it is not the intent of the government(us) to have Social Security be the only "security" we should be saving for.
None of these ideas should affect people currently drawing. But it should affect anybody who is currently under 55, and that includes the wage cap removal.
I haven't put a pencil to these ideas, but I do know when implemented Social Security will be more secure, therefore, you and I will be more social again. I am willing to stand in the well of the Senate or House or both to "sell" these suggestions.
Of course, with ideas like this, I could never be elected and, therefore, allowed to stand in either place. And if I were, would anybody be there or would they be with a lobbyist or at a fund raiser? Secondly are you willing to adjust your expectations, "strap on your seatbelt," and take control of this situation so we can avoid the crash?