Letters to the Editor

A simple solution for Social Security

If you’re not concerned about Medicare and Social Security, you should be. Younger workers suspect that both programs are government-run Ponzi schemes unable to pay promised benefits.

Raising taxes on them or their parents is out of the question. There is little incentive to work harder and contribute more to entitlement programs that are going broke and administered by politicians with little courage to make the necessary changes.

Medicare and Social Security need to increase revenues and decrease benefits. If you agree with the premise, both can be achieved by adding one month each year to the retirement age. Those retiring in 2013 would be eligible for benefits at 65 years and one month. Each succeeding year, a month is added for the next 59 years to change the retirement age to 70.

For those planning to retire at 62, four months would be added in 2013, and four months would be added each succeeding year until the option is eliminated in 2021.

These changes will increase revenue, but the amount will be determined by human behavior. Simple math can calculate the savings in delaying benefits. Using this formula, my three oldest children will retire at 66, and my three oldest grandchildren (still in college) will retire at 69. A baby boomer born in 1955, would retire at 65 years and seven months.

There is no heavy lifting and the plan doesn’t favor any particular age group. Baby boomers might complain about working additional months for the same benefits their parents received, but the same argument can be made by their children who will be required to work additional years.

Had this plan been implemented in 1975, the retirement age in 2011 would be 68. As a nation, we are healthier and living longer. What was actuarially sound in 1937 is not actuarially sound in 2017. The proposed changes are gradual and the sacrifice is minimal.

Jim Haskin

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