No discussion on fiscal sanity can afford to neglect Social Security. The Social Security program functions as a promise to America’s seniors that they will not have to live in poverty during retirement. But that promise is increasingly dubious. Social Security is the largest area of spending in the federal budget, at 24 percent, and rising.
There are options, however. A plethora of reforms exist and can be attempted instead of the status quo of ignoring the program’s growing insolvency until all its promises are broken. Some possible solutions include:
- Adjusting the Benefit Formula
- Changing the Eligibility Criteria
- Fixing Social Security Disability Insurance
- Allowing Young Americans to Opt Out
Social Security in Review
In 1935, Congress passed the Social Security Act, and then President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law, creating a federal system of benefits for the elderly past a certain age. In 1956, Congress amended the law to include disability benefits as well.
Because politicians have chosen to neglect necessary reforms to keep the program modern and stable, we risk harming the very people Social Security was designed to protect. It is only by responsibly controlling costs and enacting smart reforms that we can achieve true retirement security, expand retirement choices for every generation, and reduce the national debt.
Social Security is actually split into three programs: Old Age Survivor’s Insurance (OASI), Disability Insurance, and Supplemental Security Income. Overall, these programs are supposed to keep the most vulnerable citizens out of poverty and its price tag in FY2016 was nearly $1 trillion.