McCain receives social security, uses himself as example

In a somewhat textbook example of how broken and inept the current social security systems is, John McCain revealed that he is receiving social security and used it as a topic for discussing ways in which to improve the antiquated system.

Story from AOL News:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Republican presidential candidate John McCain says he is receiving Social Security checks, but he says the system needs to be fixed if future generations are to enjoy the same benefits.

The senator from Arizona is about a month shy of his 72nd birthday and would be the oldest president elected.

Last week, McCain said the system for funding Social Security is “a disgrace” because it forces young workers to pay into a program that is unlikely to benefit them in its current form.

Social Security benefits are projected to exceed its tax revenues in about nine years. The program’s trustees have said the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by 2041 unless the system is changed.

I’m actually guessing Obama supporters may work this into some jab at McCain’s age. However, one wouldn’t want to upset the large block of elderly voters by ripping on his age too much.

Perhaps the first way to improve the system would be to allow wealthy individuals to simply opt out of receiving the benefits. Still, I’d want my money back so perhaps that’s asking a bit much considering how much McCain probably paid into it all these years.

  • nzpudding

    It’ll be interesting to see how McCain intends to fix the system, since he seems to be against young people paying taxes which part of it goes into a social security system to help the elderly. Where would the elderly members of society money then come from?

  • Grey

    Up the age requirement for social security. As lifespan increases and the set age for social security stays the same, it costs more and more to sustain every individual with it.

    Working out a way to implement that would be tricky though.

  • Better yet, just let people my age opt out completely of the system so I can save more for my own retirement than social security would ever provide. The system needs to be done away with or at least let people invest their own money. I can get a tremendously large return compared to the inefficient, incompetent government dolling out my money.

  • Grey

    Yeah, for about 80% of the population people come up negative with paying out for social security (if you factor in investments and returns). Too bad it’s set up for that small minority of irresponsible folk who don’t save up(and a couple of really unlucky people).

    Still, if everyone could opt out, someone would get screwed (prob some older guys).

  • Babs

    Grey, the generation drawing social security now – my 90 year old mother is one of them – wasn’t irresponsible or unlucky. They were savers, not investors, and therein lies the difference. At the age of 78, my Dad was still working when his health failed, and by the time cancer took him they had worked through all of their savings and I was paying most of their bills while the H&A went out, as well as the refrigerator, groceries went up, the car tore up, and the roof went bad. Not to mention the healthcare and meds that Medicare did NOT cover. He was frugal all his life, worked all his life, and saved – at a paltry rate of interest just like he was taught to do. Inflation and life ate away at those savings until there was nothing left. If anyone was to blame, it was the astromical rise in health care costs and inflation vs. return on savings. Those are the problems that will have to be addressed to fix this system now. When the income stops, the bills don’t, and catastrophic illness and inflation will make a pauper of you in record time.

  • Grey

    Actually, that’s what I would call being unfortunate- cases in which individuals are fiscally responsible and suffer economically because of things like disease and inflation.

    All I’m saying is that I believe individuals who are fiscally responsible would be able to do more with the money they would have if they weren’t paying social security than with the money they receive from paying it (give or take a few… extraneous circumstances).

  • nzpudding

    Say you have someone who is fiscally responsible and they invest their future retirement money in say…housing or unbeknown to them a rogue company like an Enron, then the bottom falls out of that investment and they loose everything, what do they then have to fall back on?

    Also if someone chooses to ‘opt out’ will they be allowed to ‘opt in’ when times are rough and who would then pay for their years of not contributing?

    It’s a difficult one, but just allowing people to opt out without anything to fall back on is a bad idea in the long run.

    Here in NZ we have what’s called a Kiwi Saver where basically you put a certain percentage of your wage into a managed fund for your retirement and the government then matches that percentage. So whatever contributions you may be paying the government for social security, you’re getting some of it back to invest it back as you see fit into your managed fund.

  • Babs

    Grey, you missed the point. We Baby Boomers were the first generation in which INVESTING was the norm, not SAVING. Financially, saving is only 1/2 step up from hiding your money under the mattress. The return is lousy, and never keeps up with inflation, never mind normal life expenses that we all have. If you were of that generation, in other words, your normal expenses had better stop when your income stops, because “saving” your money will never secure your golden years. We have an entire generation of people in this country that were of that generation, and they’re living longer and longer (thank God), and we have to take care of those people. They paid into the system all their adult lives, we can’t pull the benefits they earned out from under them now. The system is broken, but fixing it is going to be a very tricky and long term problem. Anyone who flippantly says otherwise is uneducated.

  • Robert

    LoL @ McCain putting a fine point on the fact that he’s old enough for SS benefits.