Monday, October 15, 2007

Opening the Floodgates

From the AP:
"First boomer applies for Social Security

The baby boomers' stampede for Social Security benefits has begun.

The nation's "first" baby boomer, a retired teacher from New Jersey, applied for Social Security benefits Monday, signaling the start of an expected avalanche of applications from the post World War II generation.

Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue called it "America's silver tsunami."

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling applied for benefits over the Internet at an event hosted by Astrue. Casey-Kirschling was born one second after midnight on Jan. 1, 1946, gaining her recognition as the first baby boomer — a generation of nearly 80 million born from 1946 to 1964, Astrue said.
An estimated 10,000 people a day will become eligible for Social Security benefits over the next two decades, Astrue said. The Social Security trust fund, if left alone, is projected to go broke in 2041."

In light of the impending flood of retirees, it occurs to me that now would be a really good time to renew discussion about fixing our biggest entitlement program rather than talking about creating a new larger one ie. public health care. Any attempt to start govt health care without fixing social security dooms the former to failure. Yet we hear more talk about health care than social security. Why? Because discussing fixing social security means either raising taxes, cutting benefits, or both and that could be political suicide.