Groups on all sides of the issue of Social Security are doing their best to build up walls around their staked-out positions and all that is leaving us with is a battlefield full of ideas that are DOA. Instead, we need to approach Social Security with an open conversation about the facts and leave the hyperbole on the sideline.
Fact: Social Security has a surplus. This is parsing words, but yes, Social Security currently has more money in their account than they are taking in. Come 2033, that will not be the case when their base account reaches zero and the program will have to live paycheck-to-paycheck and provide benefits at a reduced rate.
Myth: I won’t ever see Social Security. This one is a little gray, but everyone will see their Social Security checks through 2033 (barring a law change).
Fact: There are fewer people paying into Social Security now than there was 50 years ago. Back in 1950, for every beneficiary receiving benefits there were 16 people paying into the program. Today, it is three. In 2040 it will be two.
Myth: Social Security is a tiny portion of the overall federal budget. In reviewing the 2014 fiscal year federal budget (around $3.5 trillion), the total cost of Social Security was $845 million. That’s 24.14% of the federal budget.
Fact: It can be fixed for the long term. Of course it can! It will take hard work and political will from everyone, but the options are out there.