image from beardog321.blogspot.com Social Security is often "spun" as a divisive topic. But it looks as though the majority of Americans are in favor of it. At the same time, most Americans also like "cutting taxes." "Cutting taxes" and "expanding Social Security" seem to be at odds for with respect to sound fiscal planning. Nevertheless, it may be what many Americans want and expect. There has been a lot of anti-Social Security talk lately. One argument asserts that the Social Security age should be raised to 67 (currently it is 66). The arguments for this are the rise in life expectancy, but according to a NYT editorial by Paul Krugman, the lower-income and more poorly educated citizens (who need Social Security the most) have experienced a decline in life expectancy over recent years. A second argument asserts that seniors don't really need Social Security, because their poverty rate is "only 9%." But the Census Bureau (as opposed to the official poverty measure) says that the poverty rate is really 14.8 percent. Moreover, this rate is likely to increase--affecting vast numbers of senior citizens--because: fewer companies are offering defined benefit pension plans, which have allowed middle class Americans to live decently in their retirement years since they became a feature of compensation plans in the 1960's; people coming to retirement age who have personally funded their own plans have suffered two major mid-life stock market crashes that have negatively impacted their private retirement savings; not all individuals who have been forced into 401K's and out of their defined benefit pensions have invested enough money, or have made smart investments. " We’re looking at a looming retirement crisis, with tens of millions of Americans facing a sharp decline in living standards at the end of their working lives ," says Paul Krugman . " So there’s a strong case for expanding, not contracting, Social Security. Yes, this would cost money, and it would require additional taxes — a suggestion that will horrify the fiscal scolds, who have been insisting that if we raise taxes at all, the proceeds must go to deficit reduction, not to making our lives better. But the fiscal scolds have been wrong about everything, and it’s time to start thinking outside their box. " Sources: " Expanding Social Security ," by Paul Krugman, New York Times , November 22, 2013. " Americans Support Expanding Social Security Not Cutting it ", by Wyoming Beardog, The Panglossian Curmudgeon , November 9, 2013. Follow up: Businesses match the employee's contribution to Social Security. So if Social Security taxes go up, businesses will also have to pay more. What do you think the reaction of large corporations would be to legislation to expand Social Security? What marketing campaign could you devise to sell the idea of expanded taxes to go along with expanded Social Security benefits? What other solutions would you impose to avoid this crisis for people entering the workforce now? Do you think basic income protection for retired people should exist? If so, how should it be funded? Is it a corporation responsibility? National responsibility? Every human for himself?