Saving Social Security will be far harder this time than it was in 1983

You should be as mad as hell.

Because of the political wrangling, ignoring the problem and misleading Americans, Congress has made it far more difficult to make Social Security sustainable for decades to come.

Social Security is America’s largest government program and arguably the most important one given that it serves as a lifeline for tens of millions of Americans. By now, most voters have heard that vital lifeline will be at risk in the coming years. Unfortunately, too many also have heard that the country has dealt with this issue before and that we need only to follow the example of the past to put the program on stable footing.

This is a false and dangerous narrative, one that fuels the complacency that fosters continued inaction in Congress. Advertisement As explained in the latest Trustees Report, absent action by Congress the Social Security Trust Fund should able to pay full benefits for about 14 years, or roughly the life expectancy of someone turning 73 today.

Should Congress fail to take action on the program’s finances, these people will be more vulnerable and dependent on Social Security at the very moment when the dramatic benefit cuts materialize. Keep in mind that this outlook isn’t a guarantee. It is actually a stern warning about what might happen even in a healthy and growing economy.

In response, policy experts and politicians argue the unimaginable: Congress needs to grow up and work together as it did in 1983. The analytical comparison of situation today and that of 1983 represents an incomplete view of Social Security’s condition, one shorn of crucial historical and financial context.

The crisis in 1983 arose from a different cause and augured smaller consequences over a different duration. Moreover, Congress in 1983 had a wide range of tools geared to hold off a systemic breakdown.

The painful truth is that the comparison is at best wishful thinking and at worst a fool’s errand to distract voters from the drastic consequences of further delay.

Source: Opinion: Saving Social Security will be far harder this time than it was in 1983 – MarketWatch

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