WAMU 88.5 : News

Power Breakfast: Social Insecurity

Play associated audio

A bipartisan group of senators who call themselves the Gang of Six will unveil their proposals to reform Social Security when they get back to Washington after April recess.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) is not in the Gang of Six -- but she has some ideas.

"I believe we should raise the retirement age for people under the age of 50," she says. "That bill alone would solve somewhere between one-third and half of the problem with solvency of Social Security."

Lummis is among those saying that the system no longer reflects demographic reality in a post-baby boom world. She's introduced a bill that would phase in further increases beyond the current retirement age of 67. In a nutshell: today's four-year-old children would have to work until age 70 to receive their maximum social security benefits.

Her state's counterparts in the Senate agree. "The reality is, there's more money going out each year than is coming in," says Sen. John Barasso (R-Wyo.)

Adds Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi (R): "Anybody who is saying that Social Security is in good shape is making a political statement that they don't want to handle it during their term in office."

He worries about the government 'borrowing' from the Social Security surplus to pay for other things. "It's one of those amazing trusts funds that the United States has that has no money in it, it has IOU's in it and that should worry everybody," says Enzi.

Brookings Institution's Henry Aaron says historically, "[Social Security] has collected a lot more money in revenues than it's paid out."

Aaron says now that the baby boomers are beginning to collect, the program is breaking even. Nonetheless, he agrees that changes to the system will be needed. More on that - and another set of and another set of ideas about reform - in tomorrow's second installment of "Social Insecurity."

NPR

At Food World 'Oscars,' Category Sneakily Redefines All-American Cuisine

Most James Beard awards go to haute cuisine, but one prize recognizes classic neighborhood joints. And increasingly, the winners are immigrants whose cultures haven't yet dissolved in the melting pot.
NPR

At Food World 'Oscars,' Category Sneakily Redefines All-American Cuisine

Most James Beard awards go to haute cuisine, but one prize recognizes classic neighborhood joints. And increasingly, the winners are immigrants whose cultures haven't yet dissolved in the melting pot.
WAMU 88.5

D.C.'s 17-Year-Old Charitable Trust Bankrupts

The DC Trust has declared bankruptcy leaving over 70 groups that rely on their funding with questions about what went wrong and what happens next.

WAMU 88.5

Local D.C. STEM Careers Are Soaring - But For Whom?

Kojo explores the local state of diversity in STEM with educators who are looking to change it and a journalist who's been tracking it.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.