At the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night, the issue of Social Security’s potential money troubles became a focus of discussion.
Some candidates expressed willingness to consider raising the Social Security retirement age for young people just beginning their careers.
This matter is of great concern, and it’s worth exploring how it may affect the future.
Debate among candidates on raising the Social Security retirement age
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie emphasized the need to increase the Social Security retirement age, stating, “We have to raise the retirement age.”
He illustrated his point by mentioning his own 30-year-old son in the audience, suggesting that if his son couldn’t adapt to a slight increase in the Social Security retirement age over the next four decades, there might be more significant concerns to address than his Social Security benefits.
Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, stressed the importance of honoring promises made to current older adults while suggesting that young individuals just beginning their careers might need to face the prospect of higher retirement ages.
Haley emphasized the importance of keeping promises, saying, “What we need to do is keep our promises, those that have been promised should be kept.”
She suggested that for younger individuals in their 20s, it may be necessary to adjust the rules by changing the retirement age to ensure the system’s sustainability.
During the debate, candidates avoided providing specific details but collectively acknowledged that younger individuals might have to confront the possibility of a higher retirement age.
Currently, the full retirement age stands at 67 for individuals born in 1960 or later.
Haley didn’t mention a particular age for raising retirement, but she suggested that it should align with increased life expectancy.
Some candidates commit to protecting Social Security for seniors
Senator Tim Scott, on the other hand, stated that he would prioritize safeguarding Social Security for older adults and would not propose an increase in the Social Security retirement age.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pledged to ensure the protection of Social Security for seniors.
DeSantis shared a personal perspective,
When asked if he would consider raising the retirement age, he responded,
He reassured seniors by stating, “So I’d say to seniors in America: Promise made, promise kept.”
Action needed before 2034 to avoid benefit cuts and tax increases
Time is running out for Congress to strengthen Social Security benefits. According to the most recent projections by Social Security experts, the program’s funds are set to be depleted by 2034.
At that juncture, only 80% of benefits will be available.
If Congress doesn’t take action by 2034, a recent report from the American Academy of Actuaries warns of potential consequences.
These include a possible 20% reduction in benefits for current recipients, a necessity to raise Social Security taxes by 25%, or a blend of benefit reductions and tax hikes.
This situation is not new for the program.
Back in 1983, Social Security’s trust funds were near depletion, prompting Congress to enact various adjustments.
However, the circumstances were different back then. For instance, there was more time to implement gradual changes like raising the retirement age.