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What is the solution to the Social Security crisis?

By jardinier ·
Already this is a critical issue in America, but will no doubt eventually become critical in other countries as modern medical techniques extend the lifespan of people.

In Australia, in the lead-up to the October 2004 election, Treasurer Peter Costello had a huge budget surplus which he suggested should be kept aside to meet future social security needs.

But Prime Minister John Howard blew the lot in order to buy his way to re-election.

However the issue is one of which the Australian Government is aware, and very concerned.

The episode of "West Wing" that was screened in Sydney this week was dedicated to the Social Security crisis.

Now I know a lot of you have strong feelings about welfare bludgers, but a restatement of those feelings is not what I am looking for.

I am looking for feasible suggestions. This may well include cracking down on welfare bludgers, but the real problem of course is with the ever increasing proportion of the population that is living longer and longer after normal retiring age.

One suggestion presented in West Wing was to extend the age for retirement, but this was dismissed as politically too unpopular.

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Other benefits of partial privatization

by jdclyde In reply to My Suggestions

If part of the money taken from us goes into this fund (only if we chose) it would have two major benefits that I can see right off the bat.

One, this is less money sitting around that can get raided to fund other projects. Forcing the Congress to keep their mitts off it. (a major reason I see for them apposing this type of change.)

Two, the money gets re-invested, which gets more capital in the work place. Leading to more growth?

Three, right now it doesn't get any interest on the money we are putting into this fund, so it doesn't even keep up with inflation. At the worst if it was in a savings account we would get between 1 and 3% on it.

Fact, lots in "power" would lose some of that power if they give up partial control of the stigma of running the social security fund and being the one's to hand the money out. When people go around lying to current seniors they will lose their benifits if there is privatization should be nothing short of illegal. (the same people that ran around screaming that Bush lied? Their turn now I guess.)

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Family based support...

by onbliss In reply to What is the solution to t ...

Parents took care of the kids, when the kids were young. When the kids grow up, they take care of the Parents.

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Eventually, we've got to do it ourselves

As unpopular as it is, focus more on means testing, as well as raise the retiring age, say to at least 70.

People who continue to work longer should, by rights, enjoy better health in any case. Firstly, they're occupied, with, it's to be hoped, not too much stress in their lives to cause illness.

Secondly, medical progress is so phenomenal at the moment, I doubt anyone could stay too sick for long anyway!

That said, we've also got to face the fact that many of the younger generation will never work, that is, have paid employment. Call them the dole bludgers if you like -- although I doubt all of them would be classed as such, because many would love to work -- but many of them simply cannot qualify for the jobs they want or are qualified and there are just no jobs available.

The whole work ethic is changing, too, or rather, has changed drastically over the past two or three decades. It's continuing to do so.

The trend to work from home and not commute every day is a growing one, but while many people are finding their ease with this arrangement to be exactly to their taste, the niche business in the home market is (at present) unable to secure one vital fact -- control over the compulsory portion of a person's salary that formerly went towards their super, plus, of course, the employer's component.

How can these very necessary matters be monitored and controlled from the perspective of the home business? For that matter, can they be controlled?

Without this compulsory saving, the home business owner will either have to work forever, until they simply drop, or retire at whatever the new age for that becomes and live on the pension, having, of course, first been means tested.

This will unquestionably throw a great many people on the dust heap, something no-one wants to see happen and, for that matter, something which only makes the divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots" wider and deeper than ever.

People are not "things", so somehow a method will need to be found to monitor a person's income, especially that of a self-employed home-business based person in the same way PAYE employees are already monitored to ensure that part of their weekly income is compulsorily put aside for their superannuation, i.e. retirement.

The government simply can't afford to go on handing out money to those who are no longer in paid employment, AND for more and more years now after they retire. Right now, the so-called "baby-boomer" generation is slowly drizzling onto the retirement market, and they all have to be catered for.

Many will already be self-funded retirees, but just as many won't. Some may have had a patchy employment career and not have been in a position to save. Then again, the compulsory putting aside of a portion of one's salary perhaps wasn't around long enough for many of them to save either.

Eventually, we will all need to become responsible for funding our own retirements, whenever and however long they may turn out to be, but it'll be a rough ride over the next decade or so while we're getting there.

I don't know the ultimate answer. Other than the above, there appears to be no rapid, ready-made solution. I wish there were. But then, life wasn't meant to be easy, was it?


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The solution is more money, more fiscal responsibility

by AV . In reply to What is the solution to t ...

There is no reason why some of our other federal taxes that we already pay can't be diverted into that fund now. They did borrow over a trillion dollars from it for general use over the years, now is the time to start paying it back. It was supposed to be money that the taxpayers paid in to be used for social security, in good faith - not part of the general fund.

This is just another example of wasteful government spending. You don't hear the government talking about how they raided the piggy bank and it was wrong, instead they want to dismantle the system and start anew. I am tired of the flim flam games. I want my government to start working for me.

I don't think they should change Social Security's structure at all. It has worked for years and will continue to do so. I don't think there is one government program ever that has been so successful. Our government should identify cuts in spending so we don't have to pay any more taxes. Like how about if we don't take on new wars? That would same tons of money.

I see Australia is in much the same place as America. It's time to hold governments accountable and demand fiscal responsibility.

Privatizing Social Security sounds like you can get more for your money by investing it your way, but what if you're wrong? What if the stock market fails? I have a 401K, it took a big hit - like 25% during the dotcom failure without being invested in aggressive funds. What if that happened to your social security? It might be the last thing you had left (worst case scenario). Then you would be old, maybe sick and penniless. Maybe you think this could never happen to you, but its possible. Social Security is there so you at least have something.

I definitely do not want to see them raise the retirement age. By 65 years old, its hard to keep up with the routine. Thats enough. You've already put a great deal of your life into working and its time to enjoy things that you never had time for over your working years. Then you get to go from work to live to live to work. The Golden Years. Time to do that certain thing you've always wanted to do.

I think everyone should be entitled to that. For myself, I would never totally retire, just work less.

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Largely I Can't Take Social Security Seriously

by TomSal In reply to What is the solution to t ...

I think its a joke for the most part. Hey all I'm saying is I'm preparing my mindset that it doesn't exist for me. And being that if I retire at age 65 I still have 35 years left in the work force...I strongly *STRONGLY* doubt in 35 years SS will be there for me.

But I like the idea of the money being privately invested instead of the goverment's mitts all over it (we've seen how well they managed it so far).

It's pretty sad when I think my nephew who is 16 and is probably the WORST person I know when it comes to saving money...yet I put more confidence in him saving his own SS money than the government.

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by apotheon In reply to Largely I Can't Take Soci ...

Social Security can't really be taken seriously by any rational being. It's a joke. Even the name is an oxymoron: "Social Security". It's self-contradictory by nature.

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A few things

by dwdino In reply to What is the solution to t ...

1) Quit living so long, die when your young and healthy.

2) Put all elected official back on SS. They have private health care for the rest of their lives and we allow them to manage our retirement care... hmmmm

3) Stop taxing for SS and well runs dry, adios.

4) Teach the American people to quit being lazy ***' and work hard without handouts. Expect nothing, earn everything. My grandparents are 70 and still working (granted, at what they enjoy), but income none-the-less.

5) Personal savings accounts, maybe. CD style with 2-5% standard return annually for 30 years.

If falls back to an old chinese proverb:

Hand outs bad, Hard work good, get busy you lazy poo.

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by apotheon In reply to A few things

It works for me.

(Note: I'm a "lazy ***" American that doesn't use government handouts.)

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