Letters to the Editor

Here's modest proposal to save Social Security

In 1935, when the Social Security Act was passed, it also was called "social insurance," insuring that workers had some income when they retired.

In 1964, a corporate vice president at the company I was working for retired with, I was told, more than $600,000 in company stock and an annual pension of $35,000. In today's dollars, that probably would be about $200,000. His Social Security benefits in 1964 probably were $3,500 a year. Did he need that to get by on? No. But the cry is that he paid premiums all his working years. Yes, he did. But many on large pensions and with vast financial holdings do not need Social Security to survive. Most recipients do need the benefits.

If the Social Security trust fund will be broke in 2035, why not amend the Social Security Act to state that those with certain amounts in pensions and savings and stocks and bonds no longer will be eligible for benefits. Unfair, you say. Well, take the total they paid in premiums and provide a tax write-off for five or 10 years. The savings for the federal government would be very substantial, and 2035 might not see an empty Social Security pocketbook. Most people's benefits exceed premiums paid in four years.

Just "a modest proposal" inspired by Jonathan Swift's essay of the same name written in 1729.

Edmund Patrick KelleyHilton Head Island

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