Americans have been looking to Congress over the past decade and a half to fix the national debt that our nation faces, increasing every day by several billion dollars. Each year, our government has bound future generations to an average of six hundred billion dollars that must be paid off eventually, racking up twenty one trillion dollars of debt since FDR’s New Deal which employed Keynesian economic theory (the borrowing of money to fund programs that tax and other revenue sources cannot cover).
The New Deal is the second of the three eras of massive government expansion alongside the development of a new social safety net that had never before been seen in American history, the Progressive Era (Woodrow Wilson), the New Deal (Franklin Roosevelt), and the Great Society (Lyndon Johnson). Moreso under Lyndon Johnson than the other two, the social safety net that has been created under nearly all Americans is ridiculously large, and consumes well over two thirds of the annual federal budget for the United States government, and, as previously mentioned, is constantly forcing Congress to overdraw on treasury accounts.
Every year, the mountain of debt caused by the massive social welfare programs in America causes the deficit to increase marginally, while forcing the national debt to soar to new heights. Such a cloud grows heavy over the metaphorical head of the US and even world economy, and will cause another major crash within the next few decades, if not under the Trump Administration if debts are not showing signs of slowing in accumulation or altogether decreasing.
Social Security makes up the largest chunk of social welfare program funding in America, and has come under much stress recently as the unforeseen “Baby Boomer” generation has already approached retirement. Think of the Baby Boomer generation as a large accumulation of debris in a hose (for lack of a more suitable simile). One can watch the blockage as it moves through the hose because of how large the accumulation is. Thus is the Baby Boomer generation in the American population pyramid.
In order to solve the Social Security Bubble (as I like to think of it as), there is one major change that must be made in order to decrease the unprecedented draw on borrowed funds for the national budget: abuse. Everyone above the age of 66, or 62 in some cases, receives a Social Security check in the mail on a monthly basis for having contributed to the Social Security system throughout their lifetime by paying the 6.2% tax on their wages. What is very important to realize that everyone receives these checks, and I do mean everyone. Regardless of their work history, income, or asset accumulation, everyone receives this Social Security check. This leads to abuse.
One may find a very poor man who has worked his entire life receiving measly benefits for the rest of his life, and then one can look to the other end of the spectrum to find a rich man trying to decide which summer home he would like to go to next receiving the same check. Clearly, one can see the need of one over the other. The poor man clearly has a greater need for the Social Security payment than does the rich man. No matter how much I despise the fiction that there is no social mobility between the rich and the poor, this is one instance where the difference cannot be greater, especially based on need.
In order to fix the debt problem, the Congress must address the abuse problem first. In order to cut down on this abuse, annual tax returns for the entirety of the life of an individual should be maintained in order to provide an accurate representation of income accumulation over the years, alongside a detailed list of bankruptcies filed for among other things that may have an impact on post-retirement wealth accumulation that could have an impact on the way Congress addresses the Social Security abuse problem. After this mandate has been passed, then Congress may find it wise to institute a recurring evaluation and adjustment to the cap of income and accumulated wealth that prohibits certain groups of individuals in higher income brackets and those better off in retirement from receiving unneeded benefits.