Social security -- again

Guess what's back in the news again, if you haven't already heard. The short-term stability of social security, according to the system's board of trustees in their annual report last week, is ''significantly worse'' than was estimated last year. Unless Congress and the White House take some action the retirement trust fund will be out of money by the summer of 1983.

Still, as social security commissioner John Svahn is reported to have said: ''No one who's receiving social security benefits needs to worry about losing those benefits.'' That possibility, says Mr. Svahn, ''isn't going to happen?'' And why not? Probably, one can assume, because presidents and lawmakers must eventually face the electorate.

It needs to also be recalled that the social security ''problem'' is not merely financial in nature. It is a political problem. Unfortunately, Congress and the administration have tidily put off any resolution until after this year's congressional election, when a special 15-member commission issues its report. The commission will obviously have to make some tough recommendations.

The American people overwhelmingly wish to save their social security system. Since that is the case would it not behoove Congress and the White House to truly depoliticize the issue, reach the broadest possible consensus, and then forthrightly go about the task of putting the social security house in order?

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