PREFACE: Social Security was a program started by FDR in response to the Great Depression and the increasing need for Americans to be taken care of in their senior years. While in the intent of the program was great for the 1930’s, the population growth and the government’s failure in loaning itself money from the program instead of properly investing, has resulted in a program nearing the brink of being unsustainable.
IMPORTANT: IF WE DO NOTHING ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY, NO ONE WILL HAVE IT AFTER 2030. WE MUST ACT NOW!
Regardless of when changes take place, they are going to be painful. Therefore, transition buffers are crucial to help people prepare. A few necessarily painful changes that can be implemented to increase long-term sustainability are:
1) Increase the early retirement age to 65 by 2020, with it being removed entirely by 2025. The long-term transition gives people currently in the workforce time to find workable investment solutions for retirement planning.
2) Increasing the age of full retirement from 66 to 68 by 2020 for benefits. This change is inevitable and is necessary.
3) Reducing the weekly benefits to those in higher-income homes to help ensure those in lower-income homes will not dip beyond poverty level by 2020. Congress will need to oversee a study to determine the exact income levels that will be affected and by how much, as well as the savings that can be expected.
4) Allowing higher income earners to donate a portion of their social security to an "adopted" individual or family, not a mandate, would give people an opportunity to be generous. Give people the opportunity to be generous, and I believe Americans will be, especially if they can see a person's face and know their need. Our churches have "adopted" individuals and families all throughout the world, and people have selflessly given to those in need.
5) Our government should consider providing a guaranteed minimum such has been adopted in other first-world countries to keep our lowest-income earners out of the poverty level. Again, a study is needed to determine the exact amount.
6) LONG-TERM: Transition to a privatization option that requires individuals to choose between the federal social security system or a private investment strategy with licensed brokers.