For young workers, Social Security is still the best deal around

August 6, 2012 | Alex Stone

alex in the early 90s

The author in the early 90s

Yesterday, the AP published an article with this headline: “Social Security not deal it once was for workers.” Perhaps it’s true that Social Security is not as good of a deal as it once was – but it’s still a pretty damn good deal.

As a young person in the Millennial generation, my take on Social Security is perhaps a bit different than that of my peers. I know that even though I’m decades from retirement, Social Security is covering me right now. Social Security will provide benefits should I become severely injured or disabled, and my friends who have children can count on it providing family benefits in the event of their injury or death.

My girlfriend – whose father died when she was a child – received benefits that helped her family pay the bills. My grandparents, who have have small pensions and minimal retirement savings, rely on Social Security for a healthy chunk of their day-to-day income. Social Security also guarantees my parents economic freedom – and the guarantee they won’t have to support their parents in retirement. This freedom helped them send me to college – and it’s one that I now fully understand.

Social Security isn’t just a good deal – it’s a great deal. Unfortunately, articles like this have misled many in my generation into thinking Social Security will not be there for us. But the reality is, there’s only one way that will happen – if we allow it to.

Social Security has been around for 77 years, and unlike any 401K – it’s guaranteed. So when the retirement savings and home values of my parents and millions of other Americans plummeted in 2008, Social Security never missed a payment or cut benefits. Social Security is the safest investment in the world.

I also happen to know one important detail the author of this article omitted. Social Security taxes are paid only on a workers first $110,100 of income. So while a worker earning $40,000 pays a tax rate of 6.2%, a worker earning $500,000 pays a tax rate of just over 1%. If the cap of $110,100 were eliminated, and high-earning Americans paid the same tax rate as everyone else, all this talk we hear that we must “cut Social Security now to prevent future cuts” could finally come to an end.

With a recession occurring nearly every decade since the early 1900s, our Social Security system recognizes the contributions of American workers who have worked hard and played by the rules. For American workers of every age, Social Security provides freedom, security and independence – and I’m happy to support it.

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Posted in Retirement Security, Social Security

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