Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Social Security woes for lawmakers
This is supposed to be happening
True, all the very serious people would like to hand our retirements over to Wall Street — i.e., themselves — but this is no excuse for deliberately spreading misinformation about America’s most successful retirement program [“Social Security surplus wilts in shadow of looming deficit,” News, Aug 13].
It is not a problem that the trust fund is now paying out more than it is taking in — that is supposed to be happening! From the beginning of the program until 1983, Social Security was pay as you go, with current workers funding the retirement of current retirees. In 1983, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes were doubled with the express purpose of accumulating a surplus, thus prepaying the retirement of baby boomers, and at the same time, continuing to pay for the retirements of their parents. The surplus was designed to disappear, after which pay as you go would be reinstituted. After that, it will then be necessary to accumulate another surplus to handle the demographic lump consisting of baby boomers’ kids.
This can be readily accomplished by scrapping the FICA cap. It would also help to implement policies to reverse the stagnation of the average family income, which was flat from 1980 to 2000 and has been declining ever since. Given that productivity has increased by a factor of four since the end of World War II, fewer workers per retiree is hardly a problem. By that logic, we are all starving to death because the percentage of farmers in the workforce is such a small percentage compared to the year 1910.
Why aren’t today’s workers benefiting from productivity gains?
— Martha Koester, Seattle