Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 6, 2005 / 27 Nissan, 5765

Fixing Social Secutity is doable — but only if we're willing to sacrifice

By Jack Kelly

>
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Social Security is going broke. To make the system solvent, would you rather:

(1) Pay 50 percent more in Social Security tax? Payroll taxes would have to rise from the current 12.4 percent to about 18 percent if the deficit were to be closed by tax increases alone.

(2) Work an additional year or two before you can retire? When Social Security was going bust in 1983, Congress raised the retirement age for younger workers to 67 from 65, along with raising the payroll tax from 10.8 to 12.4 percent.

(3) Reduce the rate of growth of Social Security benefits to just above the cost of living?

Social Security benefits had been indexed to prices, to make sure retirees could keep pace with inflation. But in 1972, Congress changed the COLA formula. Benefits are now indexed to increases in wages, which have, on average, been increasing one percent more a year than prices.

President Bush opted for door number 3 in his news conference April 28th.

Social Security benefits are paid out roughly in proportion to the amount a worker paid in, but lower income workers receive a proportionately higher benefit. Lower income workers receive about half their pre-retirement income in benefits. Middle income workers get about 40 percent, upper income workers only 27 percent.

The president wants to use the wage index for calculating benefit increases for the first increment of Social Security benefits. But COLAs above those that lower income retirees get would be indexed to prices.

Benefits for all Social Security recipients would go up faster than the actual cost of living, but rise more slowly for middle and upper income workers. Bush thinks this change would wipe out about 70 percent of the Social Security deficit.

Though this plan for "progressive indexation" originated with a Democratic businessman, most Democrats in Congress oppose it. Democrats have not proposed a plan of their own for making Social Security solvent.

Even if progressive indexation were adopted, more would have to be done to put Social Security back in the black. Bush is against raising the payroll tax, because it already places a proportionately heavier burden on low and middle income workers than it does on wealthier wage earners, and it would have the most negative effects on the economy.

The payroll tax is regressive because Social Security was designed as a social insurance program, not a welfare program. Benefits received are supposed to be in rough proportion to taxes paid.

The main complaint Democrats have made against progressive indexation is that it would turn Social Security into more of a welfare program because wealthier workers would pay more and get less. Democrats fear that if Social Security is seen primarily as a welfare program, public support for it will decline.

This complaint applies with greater force to a proposal some Democrats have advanced, to lift the cap on Social Security taxes, currently set at $90,000. About 13 percent of Americans earn more than this.

Lifting the cap would provide a short term infusion of funds, but would do nothing for the long term solvency of Social Security if benefits for wealthier workers rise along with the higher taxes they would pay. If benefits don't rise, this would turn Social Security into a welfare program, and do it at a level that would be burdensome for the middle class, a sure recipe for loss of public favor.

Since half the payroll tax is paid by employers, lifting the cap would have a profoundly negative effect on the economy, a drag that progressive indexation would not impose.

I think the best way to make Social Security solvent for the long term is gradually to raise the retirement age for younger workers. When Social Security established a retirement age of 65 in 1937, average life expectancy was 62. If Social Security were to maintain the same relationship to life expectancy today, the retirement age would have to be raised to 79 or 80.

Nobody is advocating that. But raising the retirement age to 68 or 69, coupled with progressive indexation, would solve Social Security's funding problems for a long time to come.

President Bush proposed personal retirement accounts as the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. But an analysis of why personal accounts are a good idea — and the one big problem with them — will have to wait for another column.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

Jack Kelly Archives


© 2005, Jack Kelly

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles