Guaranteed Benefits for Current and Near Retirees
Most older Americans assume that Social Security is a right, something no politician can ever take away. After all, they paid in week after week, year after year. But the sad truth is that today’s Social Security can be taken away anytime for any reason.
More than 40 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there was no guarantee in Social Security. In Flemming v. Nestor the Court opined that the Social Security payments withheld from the paychecks of working Americans were taxes, and that Congress had no legal obligation to pay benefits in return.
Recent history is full of examples of seniors falling victim to the scare tactics of politicians, implying that Social Security reform would reduce or take away their benefits. Providing today’s seniors with an iron-clad legal guarantee removes fear from the debate and ensures that they will be held harmless in the face of necessary reform.
Benefit guarantees need to be viewed in the context of meaningful Social Security reform.
Giving current and near retirees the security of a guaranteed benefit:
- Eases the transition to a new system of individual choice and control
- Highlights the fact that today’s Social Security does not create wealth that can be passed on from generation to generation
- Proves that the retirement future of our children and grandchildren is anything but secure.
Guaranteeing benefits of current and near retirees preserves the existing social contract upon which seniors have been planning, and expands the opportunities for younger generations to build wealth, create ownership, and take control of their own retirement.