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l. randall wray Social Security turned 70 on August 14, although no national celebration marked the occasion. 1 Rather, our top policymakers in Washington continue to suggest that the system is “unsustainable. ” While our nation’s most successful social program, and among its longest lived, has allowed generations of Americans to live with dignity in retirement, many think it is time to retire Social Security itself. They claim it is necessary to shift more responsibility to individuals and to scale back the promises made to the coming waves of retiring baby boomers. Even the nonpartisan Social Security Administration has been enlisted in the effort to lower expectations, posting on its website the following caution to today’s 26-year-old: “Unless changes are made, when you reach age 62 in 2041, benefits for all retirees could be cut by 26 percent and could continue to be reduced every year thereafter. If you lived to be 100 years old in 2079 (which will be more common by then), your scheduled benefits could be reduced by 32 percent from today’s scheduled levels. ” Private accounts, lower benefits, and—perhaps—higher taxes are the prescribed remedy for “unfunded ” trillions of commitments we have made to tomorrow’s seniors

Year: 2010
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