FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Americans need to accept the fact that Social Security is already broke.
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That's the sobering bottom line in an article on AOL news. The piece suggests that the Social Security crisis - that's been talked about for years - is already upon us. This year Social Security will pay out more in benefits than it collects in contributions.
Experts have been warning that the annual surpluses for the trust fund would eventually shrink to zero. A deficit was inevitable - in part because of the growing number of retirees and the fact that relatively fewer workers now support them.
But, because of the nation's high unemployment rate and people retiring earlier than expected... the system is already in the red.
And things could get worse... much worse. If the economy suffers a "double dip" recession like some fear... Social Security may never be in the black again.
There's also the whole issue of the "trust fund" - which is nothing more than an accounting gimmick. Defenders of the system say there's no emergency because of this $2.5 trillion fund... they say the system will be solvent until 2037.
But that's a joke... you see this fund is filled with nothing more than IOUs... Instead of investing the money from the years of surplus, the government raided the fund and spent it elsewhere. Which means we, the taxpayers, are on the hook once again.
Of course, at the end of the day... there aren't many options. This crisis calls for our gutless politicians to make the tough decisions to either raise taxes or cut benefits. Don't hold your breath.
Here’s my question to you: What should be done to fix Social Security?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
I am in my 70s and still working because I am fortunate enough to be healthy and have no reason not to work. Why should I receive Social Security until I do retire? Since age of 70, I have received a check I never asked for and could easily do without. The Social Security age limits were determined when people did not have the access to medical care that allows them to be productive much longer. Raise the benefit age to 72. That will go a long way to solving the problem.
Mike in Millersville, Pennsylvania writes:
Jack, Go to your local Social Security office. It will be crowded with people well below retirement age signing up for Social Security disability benefits. They claim to have bad backs or they are simply depressed. I work for a social service agency. The case workers send them there and tell them how to qualify for benefits like it's welfare. Fix it? Stop robbing it first.
We should have the choice of opting out. I'm self-employed and I have to pay in double and I have to match my employees. I won't get any extra. This is a huge loser for me.
Let's face it: We cannot now afford government health care, Social Security, Medicare, and all the other programs that Washington provides. With state and federal deficits and proposed increased spending for other programs, there simply isn't enough tax money. We either go to a value added tax (national sales tax) or do surgery with a fiscal scalpel that most Americans will not tolerate and accept.
Once again, I am left less intelligent than before I read one of your articles, Jack. This is because of your people. Why don't you stick to writing about how infatuated you are with Michelle Obama? You are better at that.
Filed under: Social Security
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.