I read the On Retirement column "Making tough decisions to fix the Social Security system," (InvestmentNews, March 24).
Suggesting that the financial imbalances of Social Security can be solved in 15 minutes or less does a serious disservice to a program on which millions depend.
The solution discussed in the column is based on a program that assumes that the rest of the government is running perfectly. The program contends, for example, that removing the payroll cap fixes 72% of Social Security's program.
The software doesn't tell users, however, that their solutions will divert about $10 trillion of the tax base away from debt control. So it basically fixes Social Security by breaking everything else.
The solution simply makes Social Security the highest priority of the government. How does one justify fixing Social Security instead of Medicare?
The solution will make Medicare $10 trillion less easy to fix.
How is Social Security more important than Head Start or other educational programs that face cuts? Households headed by someone 65 and older are the wealthiest of any age demographic, yet this solution would reward these people over caring for children living in poverty.
When we ignore all the other services provided by the government, then it is easy to fix Social Security.
The idea that demographics are the problem of Social Security is at best debatable. Even with the changes in life ex-pectancy cited in the column, average workers born in 1950 or later expect to get back less in benefits than they contributed.
How can they be part of the problem?
Although there are tough choices to be made on the issue of Social Security, this solution avoids any tough choices. It re-wards immediate consumption at the expense of other people.
Brenton C. Smith
Fix Social Security Now
Regarding the On Retirement column "Making tough decisions to fix the Social Security system," (InvestmentNews, March 24), I took the survey and passed, if you can call it that.
I got a +148%. Gosh, it is that simple for us to fix this system!
Here is what strikes me: Most people are ignorant of this important source of future income for themselves.
Recently, I was sitting next to a guy at the Social Security office who is a construction worker, basically Joe lunch bucket.
I posed the question about the percentage of his income exposed to the tax as opposed to someone making $1 million a year. He had no clue and thought they were the same.
When I explained the difference, he didn't believe me.
I have been receiving benefits now for a little more than six years. When I think about the capital sum that it would take to pay my benefits, I appreciate the challenge we have as a nation.
That is especially true when I consider that my wife also receives a benefit on her account. We have way more assets than average, and yet we would be hard-pressed to make it if it weren't for Social Security.
The survey is great, and I think all Americans should have to take it. It is an excellent teaching tool.
Leonard H. Abrams