Like many in the "recent college graduate" demographic, I am concerned about whether Social Security will be around for my generation. There are a lot of talking heads out there saying it is "bankrupt" and an "inter-generational Ponzi scheme," but those counterproductive scare tactics just aren't true.
For it to be bankrupt, it would have to have run out of money. But, its board of trustees calculates that it will be solvent until at least 2037 and will pay benefits at 75 percent of full value indefinitely after that.
For it to be a Ponzi scheme, someone would have to be making a profit and hiding looming losses. But Social Security is one of the most stable and transparent government programs in history.
We will need to do something to fix Social Security in the next two decades to ensure that the folks of my generation (and beyond) receive full benefits. This should not include crazy cuts to benefits now because the federal budget has a major shortfall. Social Security is a separate fund that has its own stable inputs and outputs.
Let's work to make Social Security solvent. This could include raising the cap. It should not include raising the retirement age and definitely should not include moving the trust fund into the hands of private investors.
After what we've seen in the financial sector, that would make it a Ponzi scheme.
Zach Rubin lives in Columbia.