As Social Security approaches its 80th anniversary, this is a good time to note the program’s accomplishments while taking a hard look at its future — including the need to put Social Security on a sustainable, long-term path.
With that in mind, The Concord Coalition is releasing a paper today that discusses eight key questions about Social Security that elected officials, the media and American public should focus on.
“Today a majority of seniors receive over half of their retirement income from Social Security,” the paper notes. “It provides 90 percent or more of retirement income for almost one-third of retired beneficiaries.”
But there are major challenges: “Social Security has been running annual cash deficits since 2010. Absent congressional action, Social Security disability benefits will be cut across the board by 19 percent in 2016 and retirement benefits will be cut by 23 percent in 2035. Meanwhile, the expanding gap between Social Security’s dedicated revenues and benefit payments will contribute to future federal budget deficits.”
Concord emphasizes that it will be easier — and more fair to younger Americans — to enact Social Security reforms sooner rather than later. On an encouraging note, the paper points out that various bipartisan groups have offered an array of thoughtful proposals for elected officials to consider.
The eight specific questions addressed in Concord’s paper:
1. Is Social Security on sound footing for the next 80 years?
2. What are the budgetary consequences of doing nothing?
3. What is the most immediate concern?
4. What’s driving the problem?
5. Did Congress “steal” from the trust fund?
6. Why take action now?
7. What reforms could solve the problem?
8. Is bipartisan cooperation possible?
The full paper, “Social Security: Eight Questions for Its 80th Birthday,” can be found here.