Keeping the Social Security System Healthy

  1. Brief description

You will participate in a discussion aimed at ranking various alternatives for keeping the Social Security system solvent.


You will:

  1. Understand the financial aspects of the Social Security system.
  2. Explain to others why the Social Security system in future years may not be able to financially maintain older people.
  3. State alternatives for keeping the Social Security system solvent and evaluate the pros and cons of each.


  1. Familiarize yourself with the  information contained in the chapter about: (1) the Social Security system’s financial base; (2) there will be more recipients as people live longer; (3) monthly benefit payments are inadequate to totally financially maintain older people, but should they be?; and (4) Social Security taxes have increased dramatically over the years.
  2. Discuss and then rank from 1 to 6 the following alternatives for keeping the Social Security system healthy, with rank number 1 being the most preferred alternative.



  1. Continue to raise the maximum tax on Social Security an average of $250 per year. This amount is roughly the current average increase. With this kind of increase, the maximum tax paid in the year 2010 would be $10,000 per employee.
  2. Withhold highly expensive medical care from those over age 75. Less expensive medical care would continue to be provided.
  3. For those over 85, do not provide medical treatment for life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer, heart attacks, or pneumonia. Treatment for minor ailments, such as colds and arthritis, would continue to be given.
  4. Use physician-assisted suicide for those in a nursing home who meet both of the following conditions: (a) have no chance of returning to society, and (b) sincerely express (for at least a two-month period) a wish to die.
  5. Sharply reduce the benefits paid out of the Social Security system. (With this approach, many of the current recipients would be deeply impoverished.)
  6. Seek to increase the amount of money in the Social Security system by investing available funds in the stock market.

List your rankings in your discussion.  Explain your reasoning in detail for these rankings.



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