In This Chapter
Considering ways to strengthen Social Security
Creating a fairer program
Weighing the pros and cons of tax increases and benefit reductions
Social Security faces a shortfall. To pay benefits, Social Security will increasingly rely on its trust funds (see Chapter 15) because revenues from the payroll tax aren’t sufficient. After about 2033, when the trust funds are exhausted, the program is projected to have enough income to cover about three-fourths of promised benefits. That means the country faces choices about how to close the gap.
Social Security issues aren’t limited to its solvency, however. Changes in lifestyle since the 1930s have prompted other ideas to make the program more fair and helpful in the 21st century.
This chapter outlines ten major choices the nation faces about the future of Social Security. Millions of people will be affected by how these issues play out. What do you think?
You make payroll tax contributions to Social Security on earnings up to a limit ($118,500 in 2015). This cap is known variously as the wage base, contribution ...