By Jade Sells
Social Security is the highest expenditure in the federal discretionary budget and is also a large contributing factor to the deficit that is growing faster than the national GDP. This is in part due to the growing population of retirees and extended life expectancies. The Concord Coalition offers a few solutions to counteract this growing problem, specifically regarding Social Security. One solution is to increase the retirement age.
Americans are living, on average, 24.3 years longer than they were when the Social Security system was created in the 1930s. When the Social Security system was created, only 54 percent of adults over 21 could expect to live past 65. This means only 54 percent would be expected to collect Social Security benefits, while all 100 percent of adults over 21 were contributing.
People are living longer than they were 85 years ago, when the retirement age was set, and it is time to make necessary adjustments for the present situation. By raising the retirement age, people would be required to pay Social Security taxes for longer and would collect benefits for shorter amounts of time than the current model. These two aspects combined could help cover the growing cost of the Social Security system and its projected growth.
This is obviously not a complete solution to the problem, in that it will not cover the entire cost nor will it reduce spending within the Federal Discretionary Budget. However, it is one factor that can help cover some of the costs and counteract the problem.