HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SOCIAL SECURITYAug 14th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare
Social Security Turns 77 Today
Today, August 14, 2012, Social Security celebrates 77 years of keeping seniors out of poverty, providing assistance to disabled Americans who can no longer work and offering reassurance to the elderly that they will be able to live out their lives in relative peace and comfort. True, the average Social Security monthly benefit is barely $1200, and that’s not a lot to live on, but it is better than nothing.
On April 20, 1982, President Ronald Reagan said this about Social Security and some amendments that had just passed:
“The changes in this legislation will allow Social Security to age as gracefully as all of us hope to do ourselves, without becoming an overwhelming burden on generations still to come. . . . Our elderly need no longer fear that the checks they depend on will be stopped or reduced. These amendments protect them. Americans of middle age need no longer worry whether their career-long investment will pay off. These amendments guarantee it. And younger people can feel confident that Social Security will still be around when they need it to cushion their retirement.” (www.ssa.gov)
Social Security permitted my grandmother to live independently long into her 80s over fifty years ago. The benefits allowed my father-in-law to retire on disability because of severe and crippling rheumatoid arthritis. Millions of people today depend on their Social Security benefits for basic life essentials.
What’s the Fuss All About?
So what’s the fuss all about in Washington DC, you might ask? If Social Security is so great, why do some politicians want to change it? There is a very real and present danger of Social Security benefits diminishing after about 2037 and beyond. That’s because there are more seniors now than ever before and we are living longer. All kinds of suggestions are being made about how to make Social Security more solvent.
Let’s cut to the chase.
We can all celebrate Social Security by doing the right thing, and support increasing the payroll tax for wealthy Americans earning over $110,100. At the moment, anything earned over that amount is not subject to payroll tax for Social Security. So someone earning $657,890 pays the same amount in payroll tax as someone earning $109,999. A little inequitable to say the least.
Let’s tell our representatives in Washington DC that we can celebrate 77 years of Social Security by requiring everyone to pay their fair share (percentage) of taxes. Fairness is one of those principles we want to keep in place.