Linda Delaney: Social Security is your money |

Linda Delaney: Social Security is your money

Social Security is a favorite target of the current administration and, if the 10,000 or more baby boomers turning 65 every day expect to be part of that retirement program, it is time to pay attention. Current estimates are that the Social Security Trust Fund will run out of money in 2035.

In the federal budget, Social Security looks like a very big chunk of discretionary spending. Actually, Social Security is funded by a dedicated source — payroll taxes taken directly from our paychecks — and must be used to fund the program. Any excess was to be invested in bonds that could be redeemed as necessary.

That fund was not looked at as part of the general fund until the late 1960s. Since then, the excess has been used to fund two wars and several tax cuts so the bonds are really worthless. The year 2035 is estimated to be the year there will be more going out from the trust fund than coming in.

There are ways to fix the problem, but for some reason Congress and the White House would rather claim entitlements (i.e. Social Security) are creating the deficit. And yes, recipients of Social Security are entitled. It’s your money.

Payroll tax comes out of paychecks every month until the Social Security cap is reached. In 2020, that cap will go up from $132,900 to $137,700 so from $137,701 on, no payroll tax will be withheld.

Anyone who has paid into Social Security is entitled to receive Social Security. That would include our current president, many congressmen, Jay Leno, Oprah and a list longer than we can develop.

If the cap was more realistic — and maybe the money was kept in the trust fund — and raised to $250,000 or payroll tax was collected all the way up to and including CEOs, the tax could be lowered, and Social Security could be secured for us, our children and their children.

Raising the Social Security cap may be a simplistic solution and greater minds may have better ideas, but we need to pay attention, close attention, and find a way to save the program Franklin Roosevelt put in place and we have paid for to protect us all in our senior years.

Linda Delaney
Steamboat Springs

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