Seeing as the Social Security entitlement program’s impending shortfall has egregious ramifications both economically and socially, it would make sense to hold a constructive debate about the issue before itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s too late. But from what I’ve seen in Washington politics it doesn’t really matter what makes sense, as long as you can maintain your elected position to serve your constituents (by not addressing pressing issues).
Being a young person I see this as the most pivotal issue for my generation. The apathy towards the issue in the current political environment is what is most befuddling. With all this headwind, two brave Senators are standing up and pushing forward advocating for real reform. On Thursday, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) pressed for floor time to discuss their two proposals. Their efforts were not completely successful as a Defense bill was debated on the floor for hours, and delayed their issues for being discussed. Hopefully today they will have the opportunity to engage in debate.
Senator DeMint’s plan is pretty straightforward. It forces Congress to stop spending the Social Security surplus generated by the Social Security tax on things other than Social Security. With an impending financial crisis looming, it would make sense to start saving this money, instead of spending it on items that it isn’t authorized to fund. Senator DeMint says this will save an estimated $800 million dollars by 2017.
Senator Santorum’s plan takes the scare tactics away so we can truly address the issue. Right now bureaucrats and groups like the AARP have been arguing to those on, or close to Social Security benefits that Congressmen advocating for personal retirement accounts were going to take their checks away. With Santorum’s plan anyone born before 1950 would have their benefits guaranteed. This would then let us debate proposed solutions to the problem without reverting to scare tactics.
I don’t want to sound like Chicken Little shouting, "The sky is falling!" But the problem isn’t going away with CBO numbers stating that in 2017 we will begin using the Trust Fund, and by 2040 the system will be bankrupt. FreedomWorks, along with other organizations advocating for reform have launched a website petition Americans Against the Raid . Go to this petition sign your name, and let your Congressmen know that you support these reforms, and that being an elected official means addressing and debating the issues, not sitting on your hands.