Entitlements

I discuss my plan for Medicare and Medicaid under healthcare. This specifically covers Social Security and social safety net programs. We spent $888 billion on Social Security in 2015, and $362 billion on federal safety net programs.[1]

The last legislation to raise the retirement age was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1983. Under this legislation, the age was to gradually raise from 65 to 67 between 2002 and 2027.[2] When Ronald Reagan signed the age increase into law, the life expectancy at birth in the United States was 73.7 years. By the time it went into effect in 2002, it was 77.0 years. It is currently 78.8 years.[3] In many other developed countries in Europe, Asia/Pacific, and Canada, it is over 80, with some even over 83 years.[4] We can achieve that as well, so with people living more than 5 years longer than they did when Reagan signed the last increase, and 1.8 years longer than when it went into effect, and several years of potential to be attained, we have more time to work and still have more time for retirement. Therefore, to offset the cost of an aging population, my proposal for Social Security is to raise the retirement age to 70, and the early eligibility age to 64. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate from 2012 estimated the effects of gradually raising the full retirement age by 2 months a year until it reaches 70 and raising the early eligibility age to 64. They estimated that $120 billion would be saved over 9 years. As a result of people staying in the workforce longer, the labor force and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be increased by about 1%, and federal revenues would increase by half a percent of GDP, which based on 2016 GDP would be over $90 billion.[5] Eliminating the Social Security taxible maximum, while also proportionally extending benefits could close the long-range actuarial imbalance by nearly 95%. This would only affect those earning the highest wages, and the majority of Americans would be unaffected.[6]

As we come out of the recession, safety net spending has been on the decline, but there are still efforts that can be made to reduce safety net spending. We do not need to give anyone the idea, no matter how misleading it may be, that there are financial incentives or benefits for having children when the parents can’t support them. Children should not make parents eligible for more income supplement benefits. If a beneficiary does not have a demonstrable disability, then benefits will gradually decrease unless the beneficiary is employed at least 25 hours/week. If employment is terminated by the beneficiary or the employer due to inadequate performance within a year, the beneficiary will not be eligible for new benefits. Municipal work-programs, such as cleaning up litter or doing other work a community may need, would also be an option to maintain benefits. We also need to ensure that housing benefits enable people to move into communities that will be positive influences to help them succeed.



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