by 20-30%. But there is no reason to panic.
In the nottoo-distant past whenever a situation of mutual concern arose Democrats and Republicans would temporarily bury their partisan hatchets and cooperate to devise a solution for the good of the country. And we don’t really have much choice on this one. We either work together to revitalized Social Security or go down the tubes together. But it will not be all that hard to repair.
First of all, since its inception over eighty years ago the retirement age (65) for Social Security has never been adjusted in relation to our steadily-escalating life expectancy. This fix is long past due. Next, we must increase the amount of individual income subject to Social Security tax, or, better still, eliminate the limit entirely. This wouldn’t pauperize anybody. And finally — and this will evoke considerable wailing and gnashing of teeth — raise the payroll tax rate. It won’t be much, but it must be raised. Other industrialized nations pay double or more our rate and manage to enjoy the good life and stay out of the poor house to boot.
Unfortunately for all concerned, the longer we avoid facing this reality the closer to insolvency the Social Security fund will grow, the fewer choices we will have and the more traumatic they will be due to the built-up of the anxiety of postponing the inevitable. If we care one hoot about the future of our children, grandchildren and our country, the time to act is now. But we can’t do anything with this bunch of boughtand-paid-for stooges presently occupying our nation’s capital. Then who?
Joe Biden, though honorable and hard-working to a fault, is simply too old. And Bernie Sanders is too ideologically extreme, too preachy, and also much too old. Elizabeth Warren, who will be 71 in 2020, lies somewhere between the centrist Biden and the unabashed liberal Sanders in ideology. But she has on numerous occasions declared she doesn’t want to run. And her administrative/executive background is practically nonexistent. But somebody needs to step up, and soon.
The Democratic party and the nation will soon face their gravest challenge since 1932. Time’s a-wastin’.
George B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at email@example.com.