Dec. 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM ET
A Life Inc. post this week on ways to fix Social Security’s longer term funding issues prompted an intense debate over whether the system can be fixed, how to do it – and when.
Social Security could start to face funding shortfalls in about two decades if nothing is done. Experts say now would be a good time to think about how to fix the potential shortfalls, because it would give lawmakers years to ease in the changes gradually.
Many also note that there are some relatively simple, if not very popular, ways to amend the current system. They include raising taxes on some or all Americans, reducing benefits and extending the age at which people can start collecting benefits.
Many readers agreed that now is the time for action.
“Fixing it before it goes broke is easier and less painful than waiting. Get it done. Now,” one reader urged.
But others – perhaps watching how little progress politicians have made on the fiscal cliff negotiations - were more skeptical about whether the current roster of lawmakers would take any meaningful action.
“Our collective first mistake is to trust politicians,” one reader lamented.
Readers also were starkly divided on whether Social Security benefits will be available to them when they retire,
“I'm paying all of this money into SS that will likely not be paying back what I put in. I'm tired of supporting everyone when I need to (save),” one reader wrote.
Others noted that confidence about receiving benefits is probably tied to age.
“This is an age sensitive question. I'm 59, so I suspect my answer is quite different than my youngest child's would be at 27,” another wrote.
Still, some also pointed out that people have been worrying about Social Security for decades, and yet it’s still around.
“I'm 72 and all of my life it's been said Social Security was going to run out of money. Yet 2 years ago I began withdrawing my deposits,” one reader wrote.