With the Biden administration facing four crises, attention is also needed for this successful safety-net program

Ms. Ida Fuller | 


Joe Biden has taken over the administration of the executive branch of our government under unprecedented conditions. Not only is the 46th president assuming the direction of the country in the wake of his predecessor, who attempted a coup d'etat wrapped in white supremacy, but Mr. Biden is also facing four widely acknowledged crises that many believe need immediate attention.

Those crises include the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, immigration policy, and the economy. Many of these crises have already be addressed by executive orders, but other crucial items like the economy and immigration will need herculean legislative efforts. 

While these conditions will be the immediate focus, there are other high priority items that need to be addressed, especially in the next two years. One area that will be crucial to many people, especially members of the baby boomer generation, is preserving and strengthening Social Security.

Passed in 1935 as one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal initiatives, the program has become a crucial safety net allowing older recipients a measure of income security and dignity. Since the time Ms. Ida Fuller received the first monthly benefit payment of $22.54 in 1940, Social Security has been a crucial safety net program.

Although the program has been successful and wildly popular with its beneficiaries in its 80-year history, there have been attacks, almost exclusively from Republican legislators and presidents seeking to weaken the system. Most recently, George W. Bush took a stab at privatizing while former Republican representative and Speaker of the House and Ayn Rand-loving follower, Paul Ryan had a go at weakening its benefits at the expense of lower corporate and high-income individuals tax rates. 

While Bush and Ryan's onslaught failed, legislation is needed to ensure Social Security's solvency. Even though the Bush-Ryan efforts died, there are measures required to guarantee the solvency of the program, which Social Security says will be solvent under current conditions only until 2035, a mere 14 years from today.

The bulge of baby boomer recipients have already and will continue to enter the system who will significantly reduce its current $2.9 trillion reserves. Under current conditions, money is leaving the systems faster than it is being replaced.  

There are simple solutions that can be legislated to ensure the continued success of the program. Among them are simple measures like raising the ceiling of income that is taxed from its current levels.
 
Understandably the Biden administration faces several crises that need immediate attention, so this may not be addressed in 2021. 
 
Nonetheless, Congress needs to act, especially while Democrats have majorities in both houses for the next two years. If they don't move now, fixing the system will only become more complicated, and the solution to saving the system will become more extreme as time advances.


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