Friday, March 04, 2011

Social Security must be addressed over the long term

I believe the reason why the tea partiers are afraid to cut it significantly in the short term is that it would really hurt the elderly. Neil King Jr. and Scott Greenberg report:
Less than a quarter of Americans support making significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare to tackle the country's mounting deficit, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, illustrating the challenge facing lawmakers who want voter buy-in to alter entitlement programs. In the poll, Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was "unacceptable'' to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit. Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security "unacceptable." At the same time, a majority supported two specific measures that lawmakers might employ to shore up the shaky finances of the main entitlement programs. More than 60% of poll respondents supported reducing Social Security and Medicare payments to wealthier Americans. And more than half favored bumping the retirement age to 69 by 2075. The age to receive full benefits is 66 now and is scheduled to rise to 67 in 2027.
I'd agree to means testing for Social Security in the short term. But here is my long term fix, which does not disrupt in the short term, and can also be applied to healthcare entitlements.  I think it's a better idea.

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