It is infuriating to constantly hear from assorted TV talking heads that Social Security is an entitlement. It is decidedly not an entitlement. It is a program that working people and their employers contribute. The rate of this contribution is currently over 12% of salary. The problem here is that the Democrats in 1966 decided to stop separating Social Security tax receipts and just consider Social Security taxes as part of the general tax fund. It became just another pile of money that Congress could spend. As a result, what should be the Social Security Trust fund has no money. If it could be considered to contain anything it contains only debt instruments of the US Government – Treasury Bonds. This is like saving for your retirement by putting money in a jar every week and then taking out the money and replacing it with an IOU to yourself. After 40 years of this, you would have a worthless pile of IOUs to yourself – tough to spend. On the other hand, if you left the money in the jar you would have the money; or, even more extreme, had invested it in a savings account it would have at least doubled. The plan now is that people will just have to work longer and get an even lower return on their money. (Note that the term is not lower “benefits”, it is a lower “return”. Again, people contributed to the fund and have a right to expect to get their money back.)
So, the US Government after proving that they cannot be trusted with Social Security funds. There was a plan to privatize Social Security for people under 40. This would not have impacted anyone over 40 and would not have cost anything. But the same people (Democrats again; see a pattern?) who thought up this Ponzi scheme in the first place blocked it by scaring the seniors who it would not have impacted in the first place.