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How to fix social security
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    Everyone’s looking for solutions.
    It’s the problems that are so different.
    In my mind, one of the biggest problems facing future generations is the impending debt we as a nation continue to pile up. Certainly a large part is deficit spending, runaway government waste and the massive cost of the war. But a big part of the problem stems from past promises made by the federal government to its citizens. Specifically, social security and Medicare promises we’ve made to the baby boomer generation.
    Now, before y’all think I just want to throw out social security altogether, I think it’s only fair that we keep our promises. After all, most of the people set to receive or who are receiving social security are hard-working Americans from the lower and middle classes who are merely trying to get out what they put in. They don’t deserve to be short-changed.
    We should be a nation that keeps its promises to its people.
    However, I think a closer examination of exactly what promises were made is necessary to figure out the true problem.
    Social security: work until a certain age, contributing to the social security fund, and then retire - at which time you receive social security benefits until death.
    Until death. Therein lies the rub. Life expectancy is much improved since the initial promises of social security were made.
    Back when the first baby boomers were entering the workforce, life expectantly was around 70. That means, when retiring at 62, the government would take care of you for an average of eight years.
    Now, with life expectancy nearing 82, the length of that promise is now closer to 20 years. So, pensioners are getting, on average, 12 more years of social security and additional health care that wasn’t even thought of when they entered the workforce.
    To put it simply, the promise of social security has grown by 250 percent. We simply do not have the resources coming in to handle what’s expected to go out. As more boomers retire and simultaneously live longer, the situation is going to get worse. Much worse.
    (Side note: Anyone under 40 should realize there will be no social security for them. Please plan accordingly.)
    Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the fault of those hard-working Americans, but simply a by-product of American discovery, ingenuity and technology. In many ways, we are suffering as a direct result of our fantastic successes.
    So what do we do? What’s the solution?
    Get back to work. After all, it’s nice to be a productive part of society. (Or, in my case, a disruptive part. You say tomato…)
    Our American society has given all of us a chance to live longer, healthier and, in most instances, more meaningful lives. As a result, we all owe something back. In order to receive those extra 12 years (or more) of social security, over and above the original agreement, each of us will have to do our part.
    Here’s how. Everyone collecting now owes just a little something since they’re getting an additional 12 years of coverage and payments. But no one expects you to put in 12 more years, especially if you’re over 60.
    First step, for those under 50, retirement age goes up to 68. Work is fulfilling. Suck it up.
    If you’re over 50, we want you to put in an additional two years of work. If you’re over 60, you put in an additional year of work. If you’re over 65, at least six more months, if you’re able.
    Six months, one year or two years to get an additional 12 years of coverage from the federal government. Not a bad deal.
    But where would you work? Putting you all to work for the government would completely defeat the purpose – that of unburdening our future generations. Instead, we’ll give incentives to the business community in the form of tax breaks designed to encourage businesses to effectively utilize elderly workers.
    Again, what kind of business would take advantage of these breaks? How about child care centers? If we suspended payroll taxes for elderly workers (and maybe one ‘normal’ worker as well), this would put money directly into the pockets of employees and also into the hands of those who run the centers. A few bucks a month.
    There are plenty of other industries that could benefit from the wisdom and experience of these older folks. Who knows? By exposing today’s jobholders to the work ethic of previous generations, something positive may rub off. Let’s leave it to the entrepreneurs.
    Kennedy once suggested we not ask what our country can do for us and instead ask what we can do for our country. Still a good thought today. Hmm, guess there are some things that never change.

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