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."

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Fine Brine From Appalachia: The Fancy Mountain Salt That Chefs Prize

An artisanal salt producer is processing brine from ancient ocean deposits below West Virgina's mountains. The company, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, ships to top chefs who value the salt's minerality.

Downed Russian Warplane Highlights Regional Divide On Syria

Hugh Pope, director of communications and outreach at the International Crisis Group in Brussels, explains the growing divide between Turkey and Russia on their priorities inside Syria.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

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