The Slippery Slope of the “Easy Way Out”

The GAO tells us today that on its current path Social Security and Medicare will be out of money within twenty years – maybe sooner. With Federal debt approaching $20 trillion, the government cannot bail out these programs even though the government helped itself to the Social Security and Medicare coffers.

What will life in America be like if that happens?

Imagine our great nation twenty years from now – people outliving their working years that no longer have that Social Security/ Medicare safety net, albeit small. We are not a strong family-centric society – Will you take your parents in? Would you like in your retirement years to live in your adult child’s house?

Is Working America saving for their own retirements? Remember – except for government employees and only a few of the large corporations, traditional pension plans are a thing of the past. The 401k is the prevalent retirement financing vehicle for today’s working people.

The median 401k balance as of 2015 is just $31,400. People begin doing their retirement planning –  looking ahead – in their 40’s. Per Vanguard Investments, the median 401k balance for those in the 35-44 age bracket is $27,400; the median balance in the 45-54 age bracket is $52,200.

But consider this – If you retire at age 65 with a 401k balance of $100,000 and you want to spend it down as you age, it will provide you with approximately $350 per month. Yep, that’s all. $200,000 in your 401k when you retire? $700 per month.

So when we see our elected officials dithering over Social Security and Medicare programs while they hemorrhage due to political gutlessness, think about your retirement years without those safety nets. Can you live through your retirement years only on your 401k?

For the well-being of our nation as a whole, the viability of Social Security and Medicare programs is essential.

Social Security and Medicare programs need to be tweaked in order to save them. The required contribution (payroll tax) needs to be increased. People live longer – eligibility age needs to be pushed back.

People who are eligible age-wise but have household incomes over $200K should be ineligible to draw from Social Security. They don’t need it – our nation as a whole needs it.

The annual cap on Social Security contributions needs to be eliminated – currently income above $117,000 is not subject to the SS tax. The tax should apply to all earned income – not just the first $117,000 per year. Again, the nation needs to keep these programs intact.

Believe me when I say this – people with money will not want to live in an America in which most people are broke. People with money will find themselves unsafe. Targets for crime and increasing violence.

Personally, I have had it with the elitist professional politician class. They go to Washington to “serve” us and they leave the Beltway as millionaires. They don’t have the guts to address these issues because it might threaten their reelection. Because they put themselves first …

It’s time … it’s time.

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