Every conversation and media report about the federal budget presumes the entitlement programs are untouchable. The minute you presume something is off limits in any discussion, you limit your options to possible solutions.
Social Security in theory is a noble idea but not sustainable when logic is introduced. Despite where you land philosophically on whether the federal government should offer citizens a retirement plan, the ability for the federal government to fund the program in the future is not possible.
According to a Congressional Research Service report, The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States, March 2011, the projected population of people 65 years or older will reach 20 percent of the entire US population. That is one in five persons in the US will be collecting social security. The same report projects 26 percent of the population will not be old enough to contribute to paying for it in taxes.
The time to address the issue is now and we need bold action. We need our leaders to do something totally different: lead. It is not an easy dilemma but there are three basic options. The first is to raise taxes. The second is to de-fund other programs and shift the money to the social security budget line item. The third is to abolish the program.
I favor the third option. I do not believe the federal government should offer social security. However, the federal government must honor promises made to the citizens. Every year around my birthday, I get that nice letter from the Social Security Administration informing me of how much money I contributed to the fund and what my payout will be when I retire. The information comes from my social security number.
Why not send me a check for everything I contributed now? The government can send me one lump sum and let me worry about my retirement planning. I know people will point to the tremendous strain on the budget this idea will cause but we can figure out a way off portions of the population over time until everyone gets his or her money back.
People in the country will then have more disposable income because the FICA taxes would go away. Illegal immigrants will not benefit from this program, nor should they. There will be less federal government in our lives, which is a good thing. Less federal government means more personal liberty.