Social Security: Ponzi scheme or political football?
Social Security debate reignited with Rick Perry's critique of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme.
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But the program is facing increased financial pressure because of what experts say are the realities of demographics. The average life expectancy was 65 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Securityinto law.Skip to next paragraph
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Today, Amerians live an average of 14 years longer, and more and more are going into retirement. At the same time, there are fewer workers to support the system through payroll taxes.
"Without action, the benefits currently pledged under Social Security are a promise we cannot keep," said members of the White House deficit reduction commission headed by former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican, and Erskine Bowles, who served as chief of staff for former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.
The commission's report, released in December, warned that current and future beneficiaries will face an immediate 22 percent across-the-board benefits cut in 2037 unless Congress enacts changes to strengthen the system.
Romney's campaign declared Thursday that Perry is "reckless, wrong on Social Security."
Romney, acknowledging the system is in need of repair, says there are "a number of options" to keepSocial Security solvent, including raising the eligibility age and changing the way benefits are indexed to inflation for high-income retires. He said he opposes raising payroll taxes or expanding the base of income to which the tax is applied.
But the Perry campaign said that Romney, in his book "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness," has been critical of the program. "His evolving and inconsistent position on this important issue is curious, but unfortunately not unusual," said Sullivan.