28 Mar 2006 Mike Crapo on Social Security: Fix Now, or Wait for Catastrophic Financial Crisis?
After my March 22 post about the March 16 defeat of the DeWine-Crapo Social Security amendment, Laura Thurston Goodroe of Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)’s office alerted me to a recent article by the Senator on the subject.
During the recent debate in the Senate over the federal budget, Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and I introduced an amendment that would stop the United States government from raiding the so-called Social Security Trust Fund. I highlight the term “Trust Fund” because it’s misleading. Every year the federal government uses the surplus… to cover expenses incurred in other government programs. Now, instead of money there is an ever-increasing pile of IOUs… With the number of workers paying for retirees steadily declining — 40 workers paid for one retiree in the 1940s, three pay for one right now, and 2.2 will pay for one in about 20 years — you can likely guess what those IOUs are worth and where the system is headed…
…Congress will face tough choices in coming years because the government has not set aside any money to pay out future benefits…
When we consider the questionable future of Social Security solvency, it is good to bear in mind the original intent of the program. A recent Washington Post article said it best: “The point of Social Security was to subsidize those who couldn’t work, not those who could. The program’s founding document said it would support old people who were ‘dependent,’ ‘beyond the productive period’ and ‘without means of self-support…'”
…do we fix the system now, when we can make incremental changes, or do we leave the burden for coming generations to bear when it becomes a catastrophic financial crisis?
Read the entire article here.