Stop ignoring the dismal state of Social Security

Star Parker
Conservative Opinion

Star Parker

Founder & President, Center for Urban Renewal and Education
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Every year the U.S. Department of the Treasury issues a report on the current and projected financial state of Medicare and Social Security. The two programs have long been subjects of controversy, with one side arguing they’ll be bankrupt within 15 years and should be dismantled, and the other calling for an expansion of the entitlement programs. Straight Arrow News contributor Star Parker argues the system is not only broken, but that Americans should be free to invest in their future however they decide.

As the primary election season is in full force with forecasts of major political realignments in our November general elections, I hope most running with potential are focused on more important matters than what the media reports on Washington business, and/or what many in Congress today think is an important use of their time.

If members in Congress today really cared about our principles of freedom and democracy, they wouldn’t be ignoring every day pressing matters in which the freedom of American citizens are blatantly violated.

Take, for example, that as the Jan. 6 House Committee investigation monopolizes media attention, on June 3  the Trustees of Medicare and Social Security issued their annual report. The report confirmed what many congressional leaders know and continuously chose to ignore: Both the Medicare and Social Security systems are in dismal shape financially.

The cash shortfall of Medicare in 2021 was $409 billion. Projection is that Social Security will be out of adequate cash flow to meet obligations to retirees by 2035 — just 13 years from now.

The Trustees estimate that there are only adequate funds in Social Security to meet 80% of benefits in 2035. The payroll tax, now 12.4%, would have to be raised 26% to generate enough funds to meet those obligations. 

In other words, today, every working American age 55 and below who plans to collect Social Security benefits at age 67 is paying a payroll tax into a system that cannot provide the benefits promised.

Can you imagine a private insurance company sending a letter to policy holders saying that in 13 years they will only be able to meet 80% of the payments promised? The lawsuits would be flying. Let’s forget about the fiscal situation of the system for a minute, and whether it is even worth saving this program. What about the issue of freedom, that many members of Congress want us to believe they care about so much?

Take a young citizen, age 21, fresh with his or her new degree, entering the work force for the first time.  Immediately, 12.4% of their paycheck is deducted into a system they involuntarily enter, in which there are inadequate funds to meet promised benefits. Shouldn’t this new young worker be able to say, “No, thank you, I don’t want to participate”?

Even if the system was not broken and benefits could be met, in our free country, shouldn’t everyone be free to manage their own retirement?


As the Primary election season is in full force with forecasts of major political realignments in our November General Elections, I hope most running with potential are focused on more important matters than what the media reports on Washington business, and/or what many in Congress today think is an important use of their time.


If members in Congress today really cared about our principles of freedom and democracy, they wouldn’t be ignoring every day pressing matters in which the freedom of American citizens are blatantly violated.

Take, for example, that as the January 6 House Committee investigation monopolizes media attention, on JUNE 3, 2022,  the Trustees of Medicare and Social Security issued their annual report. The report confirmed what many Congressional leaders know and continuously chose to ignore: Both the Medicare and Social Security systems are in dismal shape financially.

The cash shortfall of Medicare in 2021 was $409 billion dollars.  Projection is that Social Security will be out of adequate cash flow to meet obligations to retirees by 2035 – just 13 years from now.

The Trustees estimate that there are only adequate funds in Social Security to meet 80% of benefits in 2035.  The payroll tax, now 12.4%, would have to be raised 26 percent to generate enough funds to meet those obligations. 

In other words, today every working American age 55 and below, that plans to collect Social Security benefits at age 67,


is paying a payroll tax into a system that cannot provide the benefits promised.

Can you imagine a private insurance company sending a letter to policy holders saying that in 13 years they will only be able to meet 80% of the payments promised?

The lawsuits would be flying.


Let’s forget about the fiscal situation of the system for a minute, and whether it is even worth saving this program.

What about the issue of freedom, that many members of Congress want us to believe they care about so much?

Take a young citizen, age 21, fresh with his or her new degree, entering the work force for the first time.  Immediately, 12.4% of their paycheck is deducted into a system they involuntarily enter, in which there are inadequate funds to meet promised benefits.

Shouldn’t this new young worker be able to say “No, thank you, I don’t want to participate”?

Even if the system was not broken, and benefits could be met, in our free country, shouldn’t everyone be free to manage their own retirement?

According to the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, the average return of Social Security over the last forty years was 1 percent.  Over the same period, average return on stocks was 6 percent.

Back to this new young worker, by the calculations of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, this single worker, if they earned the median nation income, and was able to invest 10% of their income into a diversified stock and bond portfolio over 40 years, instead of paying the payroll tax, they could have annual income at retirement of $55,143 against $19,646 from Social Security.

So, hey, current members Congress, and especially House members of the Select Committee.  


Enough of pretending that you care about American freedom. How about wrapping up the political carnival and getting down to some real challenges every American faces today.


How about telling some truth about the economic affairs of our Country during this extremely important and pivotal election year.


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