The President, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives all have been unable to agree upon anything lately. The people are watching a High Stakes poker game being played and we all could be the losers.
With the August 2nd date of possible default looming ahead it is time to do something positive.
Ironically, Social Security, once considered the “third rail” of politics now appears to be the one area that a solution could be readily agreed upon.
AMAC, the Association of Mature Americans recently conducted a poll that overwhelming showed most older Americans would accept extending the ages for receiving benefits by gradually phasing in the earliest age to be changed to age 65, from 62 and the full benefit age to be changed to age 69 from the present 66.
Several bills have been proposed, such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-TX) that would also include a modest adjustment in the index used to increase benefits due to inflation. Those changes alone would keep Social Security Solvent for the next 75 years!
In the poll, AMAC provided a choice to add in a voluntary Social Security IRA. The reason that was included was to offer people who could not continue to work longer, because of physical limitations, a means for them to be able to retire at an age between 62 and 65. Of course, any worker would be able to have a tax deductible Social Security IRA to add to their retirement. Eighty percent of respondents liked that enhancement.
The White House has earlier said they were looking at the change in age for receiving benefits.
The Senate proposal from the “Gang of Six” suggested that the Social Security Issue be handled separately in any case. It appears there is common ground on this issue.
So why not agree on this simple solution, get the solvency of Social Security taken care of and use that successful agreement as a springboard to tackle the more difficult problems of Medicare, the deficit and the National Debt? Americans are smart enough to know something has to be done about the problems facing Social Security. They know people are living a lot longer than they did 70 years ago- so they are willing to accept changes in the future.
Both political parties stand to gain by working together and presenting the people with intelligent and fiscally sound proposals.
Why not start with Social Security.
Daniel Weber is the president and founder of AMAC, the Association of Mature Americans, a non-partisan organization representing older Americans.