Here's a funny blog post from Paul Krugman's blog http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/ :
All the huff about Republicans wanting to cut SS is just a smoke-screen. Most people don't even realize just how badly SS has already crashed. In its heydey it was a viable replacement for retirement savings, but today it has no investment value whatsoever, which is an utter disaster for our personal finances.
Just my 2 cents, as a retirement plan, no. As a safety net for hard working people that suddenly find themselves 100% disabled, not enough can be said for how important it is. Remember, SS is not just retirement.
This is not the first time, or the last time, that politicians appear to have grokked the inner workings of quantum mechanics. Or that maybe they just don't know what they're talking about.
All I can say is intelligence. Intelligence indeed.
A couple of things:
First, the retirement savings part is the much larger part. Currently there are 44 million receiving retirement benefits and 10 million receiving disability (from the wiki), even with disability rising much faster than demographics would suggest it should over the past few decades. So I generally focus on the far lager part - and realistically they should have different funding since they have different economics. But point taken and there isn't much I think is wrong with/needs to change with that part.
Second, the benefits have suffered little, if at all, for any part of SS, so there is little to be concerned with there (that's the smokescreen). It's the taxes that have become disastrous. Just imagine how much better-off the economy would be today if the tax rate was more like 6% instead of 12%. 6% is all that is really needed for the program to be self-sufficient if the funds are invested instead of wasted and if our ancestors hadn't sucked the program dry at rates of 2-6% up until 1960.
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