Social Security: the high and rising cost of inaction

Here's a sneak preview of our main editorial for Tuesday.

The potential solutions to the Social Security crisis are nearly as well-known as the crisis: a projected shortfall that looms as the nation’s population continues to age.

Raise the eligibility age, to 68 or older. Tinker with the benefit formulas. Increase the tax, now applied only to $110,100 in income. Or put together some combination that spreads the pain around.

In its latest installment of a series on Social Secuity, published on the front page of Monday’s Statesman, the Associated Press lays out this menu of familiar but politically difficult options. The big surprise: how quickly the problem is growing.

Raising the eligibility age to 70 by 2063 would eliminate 37 percent of the shortfall; two years ago, this alone would have cut the shortfall in half. Applying the Social Security tax to all wages would still eliminate 72 percent of the shortfall; two years ago, this move would have eliminated 99 percent of the shortfall.

The best formula, politically and practically, is a combination of solutions. The answer to do something, before the hole gets deeper. The federal government has perfected the art of gridlock, at great and growing cost.

All is not doom and gloom. Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus, for the time being. While the federal debt speeds toward the $16 trillion mark, Social Security can — and should — be addressed as a standalone. And as Maya MacGuineas, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told the Statesman editorial board Monday, Social Security’s problems can be remedied in one shot.

“There’s an easy elegance of actually just fixing Social Security, because it’s more of a numbers issue,” said MacGuineas, who was in Boise Monday to discuss the federal debt, and potential solutions, at a meeting at the Statehouse.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, who joined MacGuineas at Monday’s editorial board meeting, also sees some potential. “Fixing (Social Security) right now could be a tremendous positive in terms of giving people the confidence that we are able to deal with something and move forward.”

Agreed. But if elected officials cannot manage to work across party lines, and approach Social Security as a sensitive but solvable math problem, they’ll never be able to fix the larger deficit crisis.

where's my money?

"The big surprise: how quickly the problem is growing."

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That's like the town floozie saying the big surprise is how quickly she got pregnant.

Here's the newsflash-- everyone got a "tax break" in their paychecks by reducing the amount they pay into the moneypot.

So listen when Obama tells everyone on the campaign trail 'middle America' got a tax-break- what he is saying is "here's your big surprise".

How typical

of a rightie to slander a woman while making an anti-Obama comment. Of course "the town floozie" got pregnant all by herself! Which, by the way, has nothing to do with social security and shows your disrespect for women! Time to raise the cap on the income amount taxed for social security. At least that would be a start!

comics

Hah, you're cracking me up IdaGal.

My point is KR, is being ridiculous by now saying it is a 'surprise'. It's more anti-KR who is suppose to be up on these politic things than it is anti-Obama. But you can read it as you like.

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Yes, raise the cap. I have posted that solution on HERE several times before.

Then, all the high-priced, rich, hookers will pay more Social Security tax too. (:

If this fiasco

doesn't make it apparent to people that the US Government is out of touch and out of control, I do not know what will.

Put the federal government in charge of the Sahara desert

and in five years there'd be a sand shortage.

Lets see: Govt. skims 15 workers wages, places revenue in lock box and pays current seniors. ok.

Govt. "rake" dissolves lock box and installs workers skimmed wages into the general fund.

2012 three workers wages being skimmed for one retiree, with no bond principle (previous revenue buildup) to fall back on.

Why would kids under 30 fall for this scam.