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Will Social Security Survive Into The 21st Century?

989 words - 4 pages

The issue we have chosen is the highly controversial topic of Social Security, and whether it will last into the 21st century. Social Security, which was created in 1935, is defined by the National Academy of Social Insurance as a government program that provides economic security for millions of Americans – retirees, disabled persons, and families of retired, disabled or deceased workers (“What Is Social Security”, 2013). Today’s workers pay taxes into the government program, and this money is, in turn, distributed back out to beneficiaries. Unfortunately, the amount of funding left in this program has come into question. Some people believe that by reforming the program and increasing Social Security taxes it can be saved, but we disagree. Our position on the issue is that the Social Security trust fund will run dry by 2036 (Wolf, 2011). Baby boomers are set to retire, which will significantly reduce the ratio of employed workers to retired individuals. To compound the previous issue, these retired individuals are living longer, and their cost of living is increasing. These facts, paired with many others, have led us to believe Social Security will not last into the 21st century.
Our first argument is that the Baby Boomer generation is set to retire. This gigantic group who was once putting money into the system will begin taking it out. The Social Security Administration estimates that the amount of retired recipients is growing at a rate of nearly 100,000 people per month. On top of that, there are currently more than 57 million Americans who receive a monthly Social Security check, which on average totals $1,224 (Kurtzleben, 2013). As of now, there are three workers for each Social Security recipient, but by 2030 this stat will reduce to two workers for every recipient. Combine this influx of Baby Boomer retirees with low birth rates over the last few decades, and it only reinforces our stance that Social Security is set to run out by 2036.
Another important point is that people are living longer. A recent report predicts that men who turned 65 in 2010 will live another 18.6 years, and women who turned 65 in 2010 will live another 20.7 years (Wolf, 2011). Social Security beneficiaries are now receiving monthly benefits for longer than originally estimated, while also being supported by a smaller than projected working class (King, 2013). Since beneficiaries are living longer, their health care costs are continuing to rise, which has contributed to a 3.6% cost of living increase (Novack, 2012). Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner said, “Americans are living longer, and health care costs are continuing to rise, and if we do not do more to contain healthcare costs, our commitments will become unsustainable.” (Wolf, 2011). There are no signs of abating healthcare costs, so inevitably the decrease in the Social Security fund will persist.
Our third issue that reinforces our stance is the current debt facing the...

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