Sunday, January 30, 2005

Primer on Social Security From Cleveland Plain Dealer

Today's Cleveland Plain Dealer has a nice primer on Q&A: Social Security: A few highlights:
  • "Unlike a private trust fund, which can invest in anything, the money in the Social Security trust fund must be invested only in government securities.....By law, the government is required to repay Social Security all it has borrowed. In practice, the government for several years has been spending way beyond its means and running up huge deficits. That means the government will have a hard time finding money to repay Social Security when the loans come due."
  • "Many experts have speculated that Bush will favor a plan modeled on one of the options presented to him by an advisory commission he set up in 2001.
    That plan would allow workers to divert up to $1,000 annually from their Social Security taxes into accounts that can be invested in the stock and bond markets. The accounts probably would be overseen by the government and administered by a private firm."
  • " What other fixes are possible?
    A: Experts say some of these ideas are likely to come up:
    - Raising the retirement age.
    - Reducing benefits by using a new formula to calculate them.
    - Reducing benefits for people with high incomes.
    - Raising Social Security taxes beyond the 6.2 percent that workers and employers each pay.
    - Raising the income cap on Social Security taxes (workers now pay taxes only up to a certain income level because they get no extra retirement benefit above it).
    - Raising other taxes to help finance Social Security. "

The rest of the article can be read here.

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