Debate often quickly runs aground on the hotly contested question of whether the Social Security Trust Funds are real or an accounting trick. Liberals insist every penny goes where it should. Conservatives argue “there’s no ‘there’ there.”
U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, was at the Worcester Senior Center last week with fellow Democratic congressman John Larson of Connecticut to peddle the “Social Security 2100” bill.
Like traveling salesmen, this pair promised the world.
Their bill would increase benefits, hike annual cost-of-living adjustments, help elderly workers, ensure Social Security remains solvent into the 22nd century, and cost individual contributors less than the proverbial cup of coffee each week.
Perhaps they meant kopi luwak, Vietnamese weasel coffee, which is produced by civets ingesting and defecating coffee beans and sells for hundreds of dollars per pound.
In my opinion, Social Security’s solvency can be extended in one of two ways.
One way is by adopting a chained Consumer Price Index, raising the retirement and early retirement ages, investing some of the Social Security Trust Fund in stock indexes, and slowly reducing payroll taxes so younger workers can boost contributions to their 401(k) and IRA plans, which offer higher yields.
The other way is to raise taxes.
The difference is that only the first approach solves Social Security’s problems in the long term.
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