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COLUMN: Social security needs change

Drake Logan, Opinions Editor

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Prior to the Great Depression, the United States was not a welfare state.

A welfare state is defined as a state that can and will provide for the basic necessities of survival for its people regardless of their employment status. The U.S. was almost entirely “hands-off” when it came to government influence on trade, enterprise, and personal finance up until the stock market crash of 1929.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created social security, a program designed to allow the federal government to manage individuals’ retirement plans. The system is relatively simple, yet deeply flawed today. Every time a person gets a paycheck from their employer, their check will show a percentage of their income was taken out by the government for social security. These programs used to work like a charm, because for the longest time, people were putting more money into the “social security pool” than they were taking out.

However, with the “baby boomers” beginning to retire at an alarmingly high rate, there are now more people taking money out of social security than there are putting into it. According to the Urban Institute, this problem will only get worse. A couple making their average wage that retires in the 2030s will have paid around $808,000 in social security taxes but only get back a return of around $700,000 in total benefits.

The primary problem with social security is that there are less workers paying into the money pool than there are taking out, causing tax rates to steadily increase to properly fund today’s retirees. Social security was not a bad idea in the 1930s, because it provided a solid footing for people to manage their finances when they come of age to retire. It was a balanced program then; however, that is no longer the case. Politicians in Washington, D.C., are finding more and more ways to “borrow” money from the social security pool to pay for things like infrastructure, other entitlements and stimuli packages.

I am not going to act like I know all the answers to these problems, but I do know they need to be addressed by our leaders in the Capitol. Americans are tired of being promised that these problems will be addressed, when they have yet to be.

 

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COLUMN: Social security needs change