I am pleased to announce a new issue book developed by the Kettering Foundation for the National Issues Forums titled: Social Security: How Can We Afford It? This issue guide, authored by Maura Casey, is the latest in the issue book library of which Mannakee president I am Executive Editor.

The new guide is available to purchase for download or as a hardcopy at the National Issues Forums Institute website.

The following is from the introduction to Social Security: How Can We Afford It?

If anything, the recession that began in 2008 increased the concern about the cost of caring for the elderly because so many people lost their jobs, forcing some to take Social Security years earlier than they had intended. Social Security is one leg of a “three-legged stool” that also includes private pensions and personal savings. However, in tough times many find that the Social Security leg must bear more than its share of the weight…

Many Americans are reexamining the principles on which Social Security is based and are thinking anew about the nature of individual responsiblity. What does the government owe the elderly? Should saving for retirement be strictly an individual responsibility? Is it fair to require succeeding generations to shoulder the increasing burdens of supporting retirees?

The question we must face is this: how can we best provide for Americans’ retirement?

This 12-page issue guide presents three possible options for deliberation:

Option One: Shore Up and Reaffirm Social Security

Social Security benefits represent a promise made to Americans, symbolizing a shared commitment to one another that is a fundamental value of our country. The program has earned its near-universal support and the promise should be kept by doing whatever it takes to keep these benefits as they are.

Option Two: End Reliance on Social Security for Retirement

Government has been taking too much responsibility for the well-being of its older citizens, undermining the nation’s traditional emphasis on self-reliance. We should phase in a privatized system of retirement savings accounts, which could be regulated by the government, but controlled and managed by individuals.

Option Three: Reinvent Retirement and Social Security

It is unrealistic to continue to support a plan that enables people to retire in their early to mid-60s when the average life span now extends to the age of 78 and sometimes far beyond. Americans are living longer, healthier, more active lives. The compact that Social Security represents should be adjusted to account for this.