Every blog needs a niche and I suppose my place will be to track how the Presidential candidates address the simmering Social Security crisis. Here's a Q&A for Rudy Giuliani (hat tip to RCP) who answered - or failed to answer - the question:
What's your plan to deal with Social Security?Another commission, oh boy. Of course, everything Giuliani says is exactly correct which is why there is never any progress in unearthing a solution to the entitlement puzzle. But if I could ask one question of all the 2008 candidates, it would be this:
I'm going to say, and I mean this, Social Security is something we can straighten out if I get elected. I believe Social Security will be straightened out if almost anybody else gets elected. I don't think this is one of the critical things that only I can do, because I think Republicans and Democrats are willing to agree on Social Security once they get themselves out of a presidential race where Democrats are hoping to hear one of us say that we're going to reduce Social Security so they can do commercials saying we are going to hurt elderly people. And Republicans may be hoping the Democrats are going to say something where they can say they're going to bankrupt the country. And the reality is that neither one of us is going to do that. There are several solutions to Social Security that could get bipartisan support, but if either side comes out supporting it, it's going to get wiped out in all the political finger-pointing that's going on. There is too much history here. It should be done. Someone should get elected and put together five Democratic and five Republican senators and tell them, "Give me two options, three options, and then we'll negotiate it out."
Without saying what you wouldn't do, what actionable steps would you take to reform Social Security?As a minimum, will the candidates acknowledge that a program crafted in the shadow of the great Depression may be an anachronism in a country where over half of Americans own stock either directly or through 401(k)s?
Hey, I'll go first: the Social Security benefit age should be raised to 70.
Social Security's original retirement age of 65 was set in 1935 when life expectancy was 63. Today, life expectancy is 77 - and, for those who live to 65, life expectancy is 83.With an aging population, the number of workers supporting each retiree has dropped from 16 workers/retiree to 3 workers/retiree today. Somebody's gotta pay and by 2030, it's just going to be me and you.