Social Security Reform

September 24, 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 33
How should America's retirement system be saved?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

Evelyn Cicerchi, 90, fills packages at Bonne Bell cosmetics in Lakewood, Ohio, to supplement her Social Security benefits. Low-income seniors received 82 percent of their retirement income from Social Security in 2001.  (AFP Photo/David Maxwell)
Evelyn Cicerchi, 90, fills packages at Bonne Bell cosmetics in Lakewood, Ohio, to supplement her Social Security benefits. Low-income seniors received 82 percent of their retirement income from Social Security in 2001. (AFP Photo/David Maxwell)

Social Security has provided a guaranteed income for retirees, widows and disabled individuals for almost 70 years. But unless changes are made to the taxpayer-funded system, Social Security will begin paying more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes in about 15 years. That's when the retirement of millions of baby-boom workers will overwhelm the system's pay-as-you-go funding mechanism. Moreover, by 2052, the program's trillion-dollar trust fund is expected to run dry. Experts continue to debate the seriousness of the program's problems and the best way to strengthen it. Three years ago, President Bush called for bolstering Social Security funding by allowing workers to invest part of their payroll contributions in personal investment accounts. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry opposes privatization. Regardless of who wins this fall's presidential election, Social Security reform is likely to figure high on the legislative agenda next year.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Social Security
Jun. 03, 2016  Social Security
Sep. 24, 2004  Social Security Reform
Oct. 02, 1998  Saving Social Security
May 12, 1995  Overhauling Social Security
Apr. 05, 1991  Social Security: The Search for Fairness
Dec. 17, 1982  Social Security Options
Jun. 29, 1979  Social Security Reassessment
Dec. 27, 1974  Retirement Security
Sep. 20, 1972  Social Security Financing
Dec. 14, 1966  Social Security Improvements
Mar. 28, 1956  Social Security for the Disabled
Mar. 26, 1953  Social Security Expansion
Aug. 17, 1951  Relief Rolls in Prosperity
Dec. 24, 1949  Pensions for All
Aug. 12, 1948  Security for the Aged
Apr. 11, 1946  Social Insurance
Mar. 02, 1944  Social Security
Dec. 02, 1939  Liberalization of the Social Security System
Oct. 01, 1938  Agitation for Pension and Scrip Schemes
Jul. 26, 1938  Revision of the Social Security Act
Oct. 02, 1936  The Social Security Controversy
Nov. 12, 1934  Federal Assistance to the Aged
Aug. 23, 1930  Public Old-Age Pensions
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security
Social Security