When Social Security was launched in 1935, the average life expectancy for men was 59.9 years and 63.9 for women. Full benefits started at 65, so do the math! It sounded almost like a safe, government-guaranteed Ponzi Scheme, minus the scheme part.
But times have changed. The bad news, from an actuarial basis, is that we are living longer. A lot longer. A growing number of people are and will spend more time in retirement, getting Social Security, than they did working and paying into it. Again, do the math!
Optimists predict Congress will fix it. Maybe make millionaires pay Social Security taxes on all of their income. Maybe raise them for everybody. Others, including many young people, say it’s too late, or soon will be. That there won’t be anything for them 99 years after the program began. For an update on the fate of your Social Security, we invited Tammy Flanagan to be on today’s Your Turn radio show.