Policymakers have been talking on and off for decades about ways to make Social Security solvent and adequate. However, the conversation often seems stuck in the 1980s, the last time Social Security was addressed, with a small set of policy tools to raise revenue or cut benefits being recommended by each politician or group.
Social Security provides a financial lifeline that is especially important for older women. U.S. Census Bureau data show that, in 2011, 26.5 percent of older women (compared with 20 percent for older men) relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their family income.
In the early 1930s, before Social Security was created, many older Americans were destitute or depended on help from family and friends for basic needs like food and shelter.
I'm sure you've been hearing a lot of about the fact that there's no COLA for Social Security recipients this year (and maybe the next year). And there's been an equal amount of debate about how to address that, or if it even should be addressed.
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