Stepping In to Fix Social Security’s Failure
Here’s a slap for our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., for completely ignoring the retirement funding crisis that is upon us. Even I never dreamed it would get as bad as what you are about to hear.
When Social Security was set up, it was supposed to be a safety net for the neediest among us – those who wouldn’t make it in retirement without help. As we all know, it has blossomed into our unofficial national retirement system, a disability funding source and a survivor benefit system, among other things.
Now, don’t get me wrong – most of the benefits being paid are legitimate (the numbers indicate there’s a lot of fraud in the disability system, but that’s another issue), and the need is real.
But if the signs I am seeing are accurate, the Social Security Administration appears to be failing in its original purpose as a safety net for the neediest.
I say this because a number of charitable organizations have popped up that are addressing the needs of retired folks who are falling through cracks.
When charities with names like “Adopt-A-Senior,” “Be a Santa to a Senior” or “Adopt-A-Native-Elder” start popping up, it isn’t good news for the part of the love generation that has already hung up its cleats.
One organization is raising money to buy needy seniors birthday gifts.
Another is raising $350 per month so that seniors can get the level of care they need to survive.
One program just for Native American seniors tries to provide them with enough food for a year.
Another provides Christmas gifts for seniors who are at risk for loneliness.
Really? This is the wealthiest nation on Earth, and our elders are in such dire straits that charitable organizations have to give them money for food, care services and things as basic as gifts at Christmas?
What does it take to get Washington’s attention off of its respective parties’ agendas, re-elections and the most recent reason to do nothing? If the retirement crisis is as bad as the need for these types of charities indicates, we are in serious trouble.
Does some of the fault lie with those who didn’t prepare properly for retirement? Of course. But if things as essential as food and basic care can’t be addressed – and the bulk of the boomers aren’t even in retirement yet – what’s in store for the next 30 years?
I’ve been reading about the boomer retirement tidal wave for 30-plus years and writing about it for 10… but here we are in the same place we were 30 years ago, or maybe somewhere worse.
In grade school, we would donate our nickels, dimes and pennies to help feed and house who we called “pagan babies.” Maybe we need to resurrect that idea for our seniors. God knows Washington isn’t interested in addressing the problem.
How did we get here?