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

Musicians 'Let It All Out' At MTV's Video Music Awards

Complex magazine writer Alex Gale talks about the more than 30-year history and previews what to expect for Sunday night's Video Music Awards on MTV.
NPR

Japan's Centuries-Old Tradition Of Making Soba Noodles

In the remote mountains of the Japanese island of Shikoku, an old woman makes soba noodles by hand from locally grown buckwheat. It's ancient technique that is adapting to modern times.
NPR

Impeachment Trial Begins For Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

The impeachment trial for suspended president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff has begun. She is scheduled to testify before the Senate Monday.
NPR

A Hero For The Arts And Sciences: Upcoming Marvel Covers Promote STEAM Fields

The five covers feature the company's heroes — including Spiderman, Iron Man, and the Hulk — all engaging in activities educators have been trying to promote.

Leave a Comment

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