Letters to the Editor

Changes in Social Security vital to financial future

As a staunch supporter of Social Security ("SS"), I am very worried about its financial future. With our nation's national debt growing at an average rate of over $1 trillion per year, we must take urgent steps to save the SS program.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that SS expenditures over the next 10 years will exceed income by over $8.5 trillion! Why does it make such a dire projection?

Currently, every calendar day, over 11,000 new people begin acquiring SS benefits by retiring or claiming physical/mental disabilities. When SS became law in 1935, the life expectancy was 62 years of age. You could not receive SS benefits until age 65. Today, the life expectancy age is 77.

In 1950, there were 16 workers for each SS recipient. Today, there are 2.9 workers for each recipient. In 1960, there were 455,000 people with SS disabilities. Today, there are over 8.8 million. While the population has grown by about 77 percent since 1960, the increase in physical/mental disabilities exceeds 1,700 percent!

There is an immediate need to solve the SS spending problem. We should convince people that they must begin early in developing their retirement funds. SS monthly payments will not be enough to support them.

At a young age, they ought to participate in 401K plans, plus invest at least 15 percent of their "take home pay" in diversified investments. Likewise, we must convince them, at an early age, to preserve their health by consuming nutritious daily meals, exercising, and obtaining sufficient sleep each night.

The retirement age for acquiring SS benefits should be quickly raised to age 70. This critical change must be done now, not sometime in the future.

Clearly, we must make timely improvements in this wonderful program to ensure its future financial viability.

John Stanberry