Social Security cannot afford to pay all of the benefits it has promised. Beginning in 2017, it will run cash deficits that get bigger every year.
Opponents of personal accounts often characterize the current Social Security funding structure as a “safety net” that PRA supporters want to take away. Yet according to the Social Security Administration’s 2005 Actuaries’ Report, a median-income worker in her 30s can expect to replace less than 40% of her lifetime earnings with a Social Security check. Even worse, there is no way to finance even this low level of payment for today’s younger workers given the unsustainable nature of the current Social Security structure. According a recent poll, 81% of Americans believe that they will need a wage replacement rate greater than what Social Security promises, but cannot afford to pay. Many younger workers and low-wage Americans cannot find the money to supplement their Social Security promises once taxes have been paid. The only way to give these people the hope of a dignified retirement is to allow them to save in personal Social Security accounts that they would own and control.
Social Security has a problem, and we need to fix it. Personal accounts are the solution.