Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

But Reform Is Needed and the Options Are Many

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

But Reform Is Needed and the Options Are Many

Article excerpt

"Depending upon who you listen to, Social Security will be bankrupt in either 2025 or 2030. I feel this is grossly unfair, especially to our younger generations, who are losing faith in the system." That was how Jack Fleck, a retired Air Force pilot, began his question to President Clinton at a town-hall-style presidential debate in San Diego.

While such a statement wasn't surprising (a majority of Americans, particularly the young, are concerned about the long-term future of Social Security), it was Mr. Clinton's answer that caught many off guard: He praised Bob Dole's work on the 1983 Greenspan commission, the bipartisan congressional panel that made modest changes in the system and extended its life through the first quarter of the next century.

Today's problem, however, as both Mr. Dole and Clinton acknowledged in their recent debate (Dole concurred with Clinton on the need for a bipartisan commission to address the issue), is that some new tinkering is now in order if our nation's largest retirement program is still to be providing benefits by the time today's youngest voters become eligible. But bipartisan consensus on the need to deal with the problem is just the beginning. The real challenge facing the next president and - perhaps even more important - the next Congress, is choosing from among the several intelligent reform ideas that have emerged from Washington in the past few years. One of the most controversial of these, and one that will no doubt find itself at the center of any plan a bipartisan commission might produce, is the concept of adjusting the yearly cost-of-living increases that America's 37 million retirees currently receive. Making headlines only recently, for example, was the announcement that these monthly increases - which are tied to the consumer price index, the government's broadest inflation measure - would come to 2.9 percent, the highest in four years. Contrast this with proposals to scale back cost-of-living increases, which could save billions of dollars and would extend the life of Social Security at least until the second half of the 21st century. But none of this will happen if many in Washington get their way. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.