August 21, 2014

Social Security and AARP

Concord Coalition Communications Director Steve Winn wrote this letter on Social Security and AARP, which appeared Aug. 30 in The Kansas City Star.

AARP president Robert Romasco deserves credit for reminding everyone in his Kansas City visit that Social Security is not designed to cover all retirement needs (8-23, A8, “Much to learn on Social Security”). Personal savings are necessary as well.

Unfortunately, however, AARP continues to suggest that Social Security’s financial difficulties are in the distant future and that the system has nothing to do with the federal deficit. Neither claim is correct.

With the aging population, the system has been spending more than it takes in since 2010. The Social Security trustees estimate these cash-flow deficits will average $75 billion a year until 2018 before “rising steeply.”

The system’s trust fund is an accounting device that does nothing to change this. The sooner Washington can close the gaps between promised benefits and dedicated revenues for both Social Security and Medicare, the better.

That’s why the nonpartisan Concord Coalition, the Simpson-Bowles commission and others have called for reforms to put these important programs on more sustainable paths. We would welcome AARP’s help.