Candidates Talk Social Security Reform (At Last!)

jenny erikson
Jenny Erikson
Traditionally, this issue of Social Security reform is one that few candidates have been willing to touch upon. After all, no one wants to alienate a huge block of voters, in this case senior citizens that rely upon that check each month.

I don't think it's unreasonable to say that 2010 is not a typical election year. In the last few years, we've seen government spending spiral out of control, paid for by IOUs from our children and grandchildren.

The Tea Party movement is just one indication that people are fed up with our government's current ideology of spend, spend, spend, and then spend some more. People are frustrated that government has gradually taken control of what should be personal choices, and has mandated our participation.


Like health insurance. The new health care law doesn't care if someone doesn't want to spend their money on health insurance; it demands that they do so. Or education. Our current education system punishes those that would choose to educate their children in the home or in private school. This does not exactly sound like freedom of choice.

Social Security is a forced retirement plan. Money is taken out of your paycheck, and when you reach a certain age, you receive monthly payments. Unlike private retirement, people don't get to decide how much to save, nor where to invest it.

Now there's an even bigger problem with Social Security than freedom of choice. The baby boomers are entering retirement, and the current system is simply unsustainable. Theoretically, the money should be there, waiting for the retiree, but the real world doesn't work in theory.

Social Security spending is set to enter the red permanently in 2015, so something has to be done. Candidates are now speaking out about retirement benefits. Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio says that the age needs to be increased for the younger generation. Kentucky Senate nominee Rand Paul shares Rubio's views, saying, "You're going to have to have eligibility changes for the younger people."

Joe Miller, the Republican that beat incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the recent primaries in Alaska takes it a step further, calling for at least some privatization of the system.

In an interview with CNN in September, Joe Miller touted a privatized system as "an account that the government is not going to steal from." Asked whether he'd be open to ending "federal Social Security" for Americans being born now, he said: "Absolutely."

No matter what our politicians decide to do about Social Security, one thing is certain. The current system will collapse if we do nothing. I'm glad our candidates are talking about it. Someone needs to.


Image via Tech Askew

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