Posted By RichC on October 7, 2017
A friend of mine is receiving his first social security check this month and so I’ve been doing some reading on the subject (it is a long way off yet for me … just in case readers had me already over-the-hill!)
One of the biggest concerns for those nearing retirement and doing calculations is that Social Security may not be there. I have to admit, it is definitely something I think about since the retirement age has already moved up from 65 to 67 and to make matters worse, Brenda and I are at the tail end of the boomers which will likely see social security surpluses exhausted. Will there be enough workers willing to pay "extra" into the system to keep checks flowing as we are planning for now?
Contrary to the belief that workers and employers pay into a "trust fund" where your FICA withholdings is put in a "lock box" for retirement (sort of like personal retirement accounts), the reality is that about 85 cents of every dollar goes to supporting current retirees. The additional 15 cents of every dollar is then used by the federal government and replaced with an IOY special-issue Treasury bond. In other words, all money paid into the system is spent. Social Security is a "pay-as-you-go" system. So those of us paying in now, depend our our children and grandchildren to keep paying in "at high enough rates" to support those of us looking nervously forward to retirement.
Obviously there are a few at the tail end of productive working who will not survive without the system and plenty "planning" for or currently paying their expenses with social security checks. The current and soon to retire are a very large group and all coming onto the system and all planning for their Social Security and Medicare – let’s not go there right now (YIKES). The positive is that the Boomers (born between 1946-1964) aren’t the largest generation contrary to conventional thought. There are actually 15 million more in the Millennial Generation (Gen-Y), born between 1981-1997. If combined with Gen-X, between 1965-1980, then there are actually enough continuing to pay payroll taxes for the long term to support social security. Also, here is where expanding the legal immigration can really help out (especially young immigrants and perhaps the Dreamers … food for thought if you struggle with how to handle the 12 million or so illegals).
That’s not to say Social Security is solvent. Far from it, but politicians and those who vote will have to address the funding crisis soon. One way or the other, we’ll need to come up with an equitable way to keep the system going, unless we are so far gone that Soylent Green becomes a reality?
This is the year 2022. Overcrowding, pollution, and resource depletion have reduced society’s leaders to finding food for the teeming masses. The answer is Soylent Green (a 1973 Charlton Heston movie).