Friday, April 5, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
Tom Keller’s comments in his letter, “Social Security needs to be fixed,” are in the right train but on the wrong track.
Social Security is not an entitlement. It is an annuity contract between the wage earner and the most responsible insurance company in the world, the U.S. government. From a person’s first earned dollar, he or she is contributing to a lifetime annuity. The obligation of that contract fulfillment is the responsibility of the insurance company (in this case the government). Social Security does not contribute one cent to the national debt; because the government borrowed the money from the trust fund, it is an obligation of the government just like Treasury notes, bills and bonds.
Social Security is not in an immediate crisis to pay its obligation, since it is estimated to be 100 percent funded into the mid 2030s. One simple two-step solution to extend and fully fund Social Security for the foreseeable future, under current conditions, is to raise the annual payroll tax cap from $113,000 to $250,000 and increase the payroll tax 1 percent on each of the contributors’ sides.
Remember, Social Security is more than retirement; it provides aid to dependent children, survivor benefits and disability benefits (in many cases to veterans). If you question these benefits, check with Rep. Paul Ryan since he and his mother were the beneficiaries of these programs when his father died.
The author is the grass-roots national volunteer coordinator of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.