Social Security: The Challenge

By the nature of its task, Social Security will be forever coming up short. The challenge is to avoid confusion about how our decisions redound to the well-being of contributors.

The following approach offers—among other things—a better way to manage this reserve.

 

  • Separate the fund into different portions for those born in different years.
  • Those of a particular year could not sell their interest but would have a shareholder’s voice in managing that year’s overall fund.
  • When a year-account comes of age, its contributors could opt to initiate a payment schedule, reflecting the amount that they put in.
  • Others who delay retirement or benefits would have their contribution increased reflecting the added amounts withheld as well the possibilities inherent in retaining of what would otherwise have been paid out.
  • Upon death the remaining contribution would be distributed in the same proportions as would his or her estate were it intestate, but rather to the year-funds of individuals and only individuals who would by that measure have been beneficiaries. The undistributed amount would remain with the year fund of the deceased.

 

Pros:

 

  • Greater security for those exceeding a normal lifespan.
  • Increased awareness of the connection between retirement security and the effectiveness of one’s own generation.
  • Better feedback to Social Security of changes in its capacity.

 

Con:

 

  • If enacted, a fair but difficult transition period would be needed.
  • Many would blame this plan for what has been decades of fiscal leakages.

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