By Jack Hunter, YAL Director of Outreach
The greatest problem with Social Security is that there may be no more Social Security, or as Human Events’ John Hayward noted early last year: “According to new projections from the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security will officially go bankrupt this year, paying out $45 billion more in benefits than it takes in.” Hayward added: “Until now, Social Security defenders have briskly assured us this would not happen for twenty or thirty years, but those who ignored the political spin and looked at the actual numbers knew it was coming much sooner.”
Virtually every government prediction about the cost of Social Security has proven false. The Democratic Party’s solution is to stay the course—that is to say, they offer no solutions. When the few Republicans brave enough to try to save Social Security by reforming it dare speak out—as Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Rand Paul have attempted to do—they are excoriated by the media and liberals for trying to “end” Social Security. This is absurd. What will truly end Social Security is doing nothing.
The youth non-profit organization Generation Opportunity conducted a national survey last year of young adults ages 18-29. Those surveyed represented political viewpoints from across the spectrum. When asked: “in your opinion, is your Social Security money safer with the federal government or under your pillow?” 66% of young voters indicated the money is safer under their pillow. Most young Americans simply do not believe given the current state of the program coupled with the mountain of debt our government keeps piling up, that they will ever see Social Security. And they’re probably right.
Americans who have spent the majority of their lives working hard, playing by the rules and paying into Social Security deserve exactly what they’ve been promised. Yet today, there is serious question as to how long these promises can be kept given the chronic recklessness of our federal government. Sen. Paul has suggested as part of his Social Security reform that the retirement age be raised for those currently under 55, that we apply means testing and that younger Americans be allowed to opt out. Each is a reasonable and practical solution.
For a majority of young people, opting-out of Social Security is not so much a question, but inevitability. Most young Americans would simply prefer to opt-out before the bottom drops out. And we should let them.