Comments about ‘In our opinion: The long-term outlook for Social Security isn't good, so begin solving problem now’

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Published: Monday, July 28 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Mainly Me
Werribee, 00

In my opinion: Social Security is a Ponzi scam and will crash of its own weight.

Salt Lake City, UT

For social security the problem is the regressivity of the payroll tax. According to Senator Bernie Sanders we should apply the Social Security payroll tax on income above $250,000. Applying the Social Security payroll tax on income above $250,000 would only impact the wealthiest 1.3 percent of wage earners. In other words, 98.7 percent of wage earners in the United States would not see their taxes go up. The social security trust fund is solvent until 2030. Lifting the cap on taxable income would extend social security an additional 50 years.

Social security has been a winner and has rescued many elderly from abject poverty. Before social security it was a race to see which would kill off the elderly first - ill health or lack of nutrition.

Far East USA, SC

SS is a fairly easy fix.

1) delay benefits
2) increase taxes to cover it.
3) a combination of the 2 above makes the most sense

Medicare/Medicaid are much tougher problems.

Fixes include
1) reduce benefits
2) work to cut medical costs
3) raise taxes to pay for it

Of the 3 above, working to cut medical costs seems to make the most sense as cost are huge compared to the rest of the world.

All we need to do is convince about 1/2 of the country that medical costs need to be controlled.

The longer we wait, the tougher these problems become. And lately, all our congress HAS been doing is waiting and pushing the problem down the road.

Jeff Harris
Edmonds, WA

Contrary to what Republican politicians hope we'll believe, most of us know that Social Security is an insurance that we working Americans pay for during our working lives, not an "entitlement" whatever that is. Republican attacks on it are the biggest threats Social Security faces.

salt lake city, utah

Social Security is one program that is absolutely vital to the health of the nation but also a program that one would expect would have to be "fixed" periodically with changing demographics and economic situations. It's impossible to see 50 years ahead so adjustments should be expected.

Luckily Social Security has some very easy fixes we just need the will to do so.

La Verkin, UT

The only reasonable solution is one that no one is talking about. I have proposed that we gradually increase the age that people receive benefits from these programs, increasing it by 6 months per year until we get it to 72 years old. At 60 years old, that affects me as much as anyone, but it is the right thing to do. While it would be nice if the money we pay in could be privatized so it was available to us when we need it, that is not workable in the short term. This approach will decrease costs substantially in the long run and is more reflective of how long people live and can and should be productive compared to when Social Security and Medicare were created.

Hayden, ID

Anyone who thinks SS is a good deal does not understand math or compounded interest!
M = P( 1 + i )n

M is the final amount including the principal.
P is the principal amount.
i is the rate of interest per year.
n is the number of years invested.

Look at the FICA deduction on your next paycheck and include what your employer is forced to contribute and plug those yearly numbers into the above formula for say..40 years! Assign any modest interest rate, compounded for those 40 years! If we had been "allowed" to invest that money in any simple investment, nearly every American would retire as multi-millionaires. Congrats Americans, your government hosed you again!

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Lumping Social Security and Medicare together is highly obfuscatory. Social Security's problems are relatively minor. SS currently consumes 5% of GDP, that will rise to 6% by 2035 where it is projected to remain. A small tax increase coupled to a small benefit cut will take care of it.

Medicare and Medicaid, on the other hand, is where all of the future deficits problems originate, But if we were to get our medical spending down to the level of Germany, or France, or Japan, or any other developed country, we would solve almost all of long term deficit problems.

Far East USA, SC


Had SS been invested, it would be a great program.

But alas, our great and wise elected leaders, Both R and D alike, saw free money and used it in an effort to buy votes and keep taxes low.

So, what we have is a decent program that was hijacked by politicians (even your beloved Republicans)

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To Shaun McC: People in their 50's are already having a hard time finding a job. Employers do not want 70 year old employees Increasing the retirement age won't work for that reason, unless we very vigorously enforce anti-age discrimination laws. Also many people in physically difficult work environments simply cannot keep working that long.

Star Valley Ranch, WY

If we stopped trying to be the police force for the world and started taking care of our selves, we could afford a lot of things.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

"...Unsustainable might be an appropriate term for the seemingly lackluster interest from Capitol Hill lawmakers, outside of Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and a few others. The report, stated Hatch, is a stark reminder of the urgent need for entitlement reform...".

It's good to read Hatch is aware of something.

Hatch has been in the Senate since 1977.

It's good to read Hatch sees anything as being urgent.

"...Actually, the feds financial picture right now isn't dire, given budget cuts and tax increases. The CBO projects a U.S. budget deficit of $492 billion this year, the lowest since 2008 and nearly a third of the record $1.4 trillion in 2009...".

Actually, it's surprising to read this report in the DN.

"...Americans are hesitant to see reductions in Social Security benefits. A recent Pew Research Center study shows 67 percent want no reductions at all in benefits,...".

Those Americans who are hesitant to see reductions in Social Security represent the voting base of the Republican Party.

Republican law makers will slash Social Security benefits for their voting base.


Tooele, UT

Re: "The social security trust fund is solvent until 2030."

No, it's not. There is no social security trust fund. Any more than there exists a Social Security fairy.

Here's how the welfare-system Ponzi scam works -- current benefits are paid out of current receipts. Current excesses are applied to other general-budget items, with an understanding they'll be paid back out of future receipts. Resulting, of course, in unsustainable systemic debt.

To say that Social Security is solvent until 2030 must be translated from liberal newspeak as: "CBO hopes -- that's all they can do, there's no real way to predict -- that current receipts, plus redemption of government debt instruments will meet current expenditures until 2030."

But a "lockbox," into which current excesses are placed, ready to be used when needed in the future? Nothing but disingenuous accounting fantasy -- Social Security fairytale.

Best time to begin solving this problem? Back when President Bush suggested it, and liberals fought it off. Second best? Now, but liberals will never let the issue be solved.

They'll continue to press the Social Security fairy approach until it all collapses.


Far East USA, SC

"Best time to begin solving this problem? Back when President Bush suggested it,"

Are you talking about just before the stock market crashed big time?

Cedar Hills, UT

Ida Mae Fuller, the first SS recipient, paid less than $25 in SS taxes. She then received almost $23,000 in SS welfare payments.

Thus Social Security has been a Ponzi scheme from the very beginning. Eventually all Ponzi schemes collapse as the number of those who reach the receiving end grows until it can no longer be supported.

Second, Social Security is a tax, not an investment. The money taken from you today isn't being stored in any account waiting to you to cash it out on a later date. Money taken from you is immediately being given to one of the SS welfare recipients (remember that this is a Ponzi scheme and has been since the first recipient). Those notices from the government telling you about an account with your name on it? Those are fiat accounts, meaning they only exist in an arbitrary sense and not a literal one.

Before solutions can be found, we must first face the reality of the situation.

Wasatch Front, UT

The real problem Medicare and Medicaid. The high cost of health care, and the lack of savings to prepare for paying health costs in retirement is both killing the competitiveness of American businesses, and leaving us unprepared to pay for medical costs in old age. The problems? 1) A lack of open markets in health care (consumers don't feel the full impact of their health choices so they spend less time shopping for good medicine than they do for a $600 television) 2) with limited information available to consumers 3) Poor dietary and health/fitness choices 4) Under-educated workers who do not contribute sufficient value to cover their own health costs.

Until we start to address the real underlying issues, the problems will continue to grow.

seattle, WA

So what if you think Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.
So what if it a "redistribution" of wealth.
Well, you get the point. So what.

It is a program that US citizens rely on for a modicum of security in their old age. We may argue endlessly about when "old age" begins and what a modicum of security means in actual dollars. However, we are not going to abolish the system.

The best advice to all sides of this political debate is to find common ground, compromise and give the American people comfort knowing this safety net will stay in place. Sadly, even power Senators like Mr Hatch can not seem to find this common ground and actually do something positive for the majority of Americans. I don't blame him, but just where does the buck stop in the Congress and the Senate? Can they every draft any kind of compromise legislation, or are they going to continue to bicker like fishwives (apologies to the spouses of fish mongers, its a vivd metaphor if misogynistic).

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

Social Security would've been just fine if the politicians from both parties hadn't raided and plundered the trust fund from the 1960's to the 1980's.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Obama has proposed cutting SS benefits by tying them to CPI, thus maintaining solvency forever. In return he wants certain loopholes for rich taxpayers closed.

This is a fair and responsible compromise, but the House Republicans won't even talk. Sheer obstructionism.


I'm a young guy - 28 years old. I would much rather be legislatively required to personally invest the SS "tax" that hits my pay check than kiss it goodbye without any hope of seeing a dime back when i retire in 35-40 years.

When the government does for someone what they can do for themselves, everyone loses except the government.

They have used this "tool" to buy votes. R's and D's. No other explanation for it.

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