Other solutions besides cutting should be used, says Potsdam man
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 6:17 am

To the Editor:

I see some people still misunderstand the situation with Social Security.

To start, SS is not going broke, it isn’t even in trouble. The SS Trust Fund plus current contributions will fully fund it for the next 20 plus years. That’s assuming the economy doesn’t pick up at all from where it is and contributions don’t increase.

Even if nothing is done (congress is good at that) SS will still be able to pay out 75 percent for the following 50 plus years. The argument is that we need to change SS (i.e. reduce benefits) now to fend off that shortfall (again, not bankruptcy, a shortfall, there’s a difference).

The proponents say the changes wouldn’t affect those under 55. That’s a half truth. Yes, raising the retirement age wouldn’t affect those under 55 but the proposed change to “chained CPI” would affect all recipients, including those currently on SS. And why wouldn’t we want our children and grandchildren to have a secure retirement?

The big problem is that the proponents of cutting the benefits ignore a simple alternative, namely raising the cap on income that is taxable under SS law. That’s not a novel idea. We’ve done it before when inflation caused incomes to get ahead of contributions.

Right now income above roughly $114K isn’t taxable. It has been calculated that if we remove that cap SS would be sound for the next 75 years, which as far out as the CBO makes projections, and we could even increase current benefits. 85% of seniors depend on SS for most of their income. So ask yourself, why is cutting benefits the only solution being considered by congress?

Jim Bullard

Potsdam