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Social Security reform set for debate in new Congress

More lawmakers are sounding the alarm about the program's financial stability
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Posted at 3:00 AM, Dec 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-26 14:58:47-05

ATLANTA — Social Security is something many Americans have an opinion on. Some love it, and some hate it. Some rely on it to live, and some don't.

Regardless of your opinion of the program, the reality is that debates are intensifying around the program's future.

That's because trustees for Social Security have announced they will be incapable of paying out all the benefits they are required to in 2035.

It's a combination of Americans living longer, Americans having fewer children and an increase in retirees in the coming years.

IDEAS FOR CHANGE

The incoming Congress is poised to take a closer look at the future of Social Security. That's because conservatives are taking over the House, with many frustrated at the state of our national debt.

The country's debt is around $31 trillion at the moment.

One way to bring down the debt — as well as address the pending financial problem at the Social Security Administration — is to reform Social Security. And ideas on how to do that vary greatly.

Some Republicans would like to raise the retirement age to 70 by 2040

Some Democrats would like to raise taxes on higher-income Americans to make the program more financially solvent.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, has signaled interest in working on some kind of reform.

"There are tremendous problems right now,” Manchin said. He is a key centrist in Congress.

WHAT DO RETIREES THINK?

When reporting on social security, it helps to talk to people who actually use it. We recently sat down with Carolyn Hartfield, Sam Baskin Jr., Henk Brinkman and Theresa Hall in metro Atlanta. They are retirees are in their 70s.

"It's a great program," Baskin said.

"I would be homeless if I depended upon Social Security," Brinkman said.

"I do depend on Social Security and I have a roommate," Hartfield added.

Regarding reforms, Hall suggested something should be done for younger generations. She is worried about her younger relatives.

"It is a concern about your family, who is younger," Hall said.

Baskin said it's important for lawmakers to remember that when you are in your 60s, it gets harder to work.

"When you get to 62, you are about done had it with work," Baskin said.

As for Brinkman, he doesn't think Congress will be able to figure this out any time soon — especially with the House and Senate being divided come January. He believes younger Americans should save.

"Americans don't save. People go to Starbucks and pay $7 for a cup of coffee," Brinkman said.