Modernizing Social Security

The social security program is now an octogenarian, and it has not aged well in every respect. When President Franklin Roosevelt signed the program into law in 1935, he said that it was meant to “give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.” Most people now agree this is an appropriate function for government to serve. But just how to serve that function is a question that requires us to grasp how times have changed.

Social Security suffers from unequal benefits and an obsolete structure unsuited to the 21st-century economy. The right approach to reforming Social Security will focus on five main goals: making Social Security financially sustainable; ensuring all workers are treated fairly; updating policies to reflect a 21st-century workforce; encouraging personal saving, especially for low-income Americans; and refocusing disability insurance on the truly disabled to ensure benefits are available for future disabled workers.

By recognizing the changing nature of today’s economy and workforce, these reforms would make Social Security more sustainable, fair, relevant, and adaptable for both retirees and disabled workers. Only by implementing this new vision of Social Security can we continue to provide the quality and dependable retirement support that all Americans expect and deserve.

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