I am 62. I grew up poor. My brother and I used to spend weekends going down the sides of streets with our wagon collecting glass soda bottles, which could be redeemed at grocery stores for 2 cents each. My parents instilled in my family one of the values given to us by President Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
Many of my age and older are collecting Social Security. Each day you read how these individuals can’t live on that and that they are “entitled” to that money as they paid it in. Here are the facts:
Unless you were self-employed, you only paid half, with your employer picking up the other half.
Social Security was never meant to be your only means of support. It was to be one of three sources — Social Security, pension and personal savings. Today, 401(k)s — many have employer contributions of a match up to a certain percentage of a employee’s salary — would replace pensions.
If we want to save Social Security, we need to make some immediate reforms:
1. Continue to raise the age limit for both full benefits as well as the age limit for first receiving benefits.
2. Make sure that only those who are really disabled receive benefits.
3. Only fund retirement benefits.
4. Do away with the salary limits for paying into Social Security.
5. Reduce the benefits to those who do not need it.
My father once taught me that there are “givers” and “takers.” We now have more “takers” than “givers.”