September 1, 2014

Delaying Social Security Reform Will Only Make the Job Harder

  • Social Security, established in 1935, is the federal government’s largest program. It represents approximately one-fifth of the federal budget and...

Since Medicare will put far more pressure on the federal budget than Social Security will in the future, some people question whether the country really needs to worry about Social Security reform.  Yes, we do.  As Diane Lim Rogers, Concord’s chief economist, writes in a new blog posting, the Social Security trustees’ report last week reminds us that time is not on our side; the country’s demographic changes mean that Social Security’s problems, left unaddressed, will steadily worsen.  So delaying reform will only make the job harder.

“We would not want to implement immediate changes that would weaken the economic recovery, nor would we want to place undue burdens on current retirees and lower-income workers,” Rogers writes.  “But we could begin to develop reform plans now, and there are many reasonable options available that could quickly improve the program’s 75-year outlook.”

It wouldn’t be right to leave the job to future generations because they will have problems of their own. The trustees note that if the average age of the U.S. population continues to rise late in this century, even more changes could be required after  2084 to keep Social Security solvent.