Social Security and the Pandemic

Social Security and the Pandemic

by Doyle Ranstrom on Aug 9, 2020

I just saw an article on the need for cutting social security benefits to help pay for the pandemic.  This is the first one I have seen.  There may have been others, I am sure there will be more.  

Let's be clear on two points.

  • One, social security is an essential source of income for almost all retirees and this will continue to be the case for future retirees.
    • Social Security benefits represent about 33% of the income of the elderly.
    • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 50% of married couples and 70% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.
    • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 21% of married couples and about 45% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.
      • Social Security Fact Sheet.
  • Current and future retirees should not be financially responsible for paying for the costs of the pandemic through a reduction of social security benefits.  

As I have written about in the past, the coronavirus was inevitable, the pandemic was a choice.  It is the result of a failure of many of our National leaders to prepare and plan for the future.  For years the pandemic has been a substantial risk to our economy and there have been numerous warnings, all ignored by my many National leaders. Today we have spent over $2 Trillion with another 2+ Trillion pending because of their incompetence.   

Asking current and future social security beneficiaries to pay for their incompetence is neither ethical or in our National interests.

What is in our National interest is electing National leaders who have a long term vision and support for a comprehensive National health care plan which includes increased funding for CDC and other public research of infectious diseases, funding public health agencies and their staff, developing and implementing a comprehensive basic health plan for all Americans.  

It is also in our best interests to elect National leaders who support basic health care and a minimum retirement for all Americans.  Currently, we call these programs social security and Medicare.  

Finally, It is not in our interests to elect anyone running for state or National office who promotes cutting taxes on any level.  Not only is this a way of saying "charge it to our kids and grandkids" but also is a very subtle way of saying "eventually we will cut your social security and Medicare benefits".  

As I have said before, we cannot cut taxes out of this.  Nor should current and future social security beneficiaries pay for the lack of planning, foresight, and incompetence of many National leaders.  We can, invest our way out of this and come out stronger as a country than ever before.  

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