Social Security does need to be fixed

To the editor:Russ Armstrong and Steve Gorin of the New Hampshire State Committee on Aging presented commentary in the opinion column concerning the federal programs of Social Security and Medicare (“Social Security and Medicare ain’t broke,” Sept. 23-Oct. 6 NHBR). They selected data tidbits that produce a nose-leading breadcrumb trail to the partisan conclusions both men support.Their intent is to minimize in the readers’ mind the need to take decisive action regarding two of this country’s largest and most expensive entitlement programs, both of which are in considerable financial peril.Shouldn’t the work of these men representing the State Committee on Aging be done in a manner that is as un-politicized as possible, where the readers can be assured of getting all the facts (not just some) in an unbiased manner, where the sole purpose is to create an informed public that can draw its own conclusions?If the State Committee on Aging were truly interested in spreading the full spectrum of unbiased facts and information, they would be relaying the complete picture including issues such as these:1. The government outlawed “pay-as-you-go” pension plans (like Social Security) decades ago. Why? Because they are inherently risky and dangerous. We now can see the reasons why they were prohibited. Social Security has often been called a variation of a Ponzi scheme by millions for good reason. Because it is!2. The investment of the Social Security trust fund in only ultra-safe Treasury instruments prohibits tens of millions of Americans who desperately need higher income to raise their standard of living from ever getting it. Unless the investment structure of Social Security changes they will be consigned to just above poverty.3. There is compelling evidence that taking a different investment course with private accounts and actively managed investments produces twice the return of the current Social Security program.4. Every private and public pension fund in America is planning on and achieving substantially higher returns than Social Security currently provides.5. Any 20-, 30- or even 40-year-old visiting any certified financial planner in America will be advised to put nearly all their retirement investments in equities because that is the place they will achieve the highest return over any long investment horizon that stretches for decades.6. Medicare is really a welfare program in disguise. The typical couple retiring in 2020 will have paid in about $100,000 in Medicare taxes and get $500,000 in benefits.7. The chances that anyone currently retired or retiring in the next decade will be impacted by any reforms are close to zero. Yet these people are being targeted by the committee to be convinced that entitlement programs need few if any meaningful changes.The Committee on Aging has a responsibility to explain, explore and discuss every option available to fix America’s two favorite programs, including the pros, cons, risks and possible huge rewards that might accompany any reform approach.Tony BoutinGilford

Categories: Cook on Concord