Social issues have not received much attention during the largely economic-oriented 2012 presidential election. Questions regarding issues such as Social Security and education, however, remain at the front of Americans’ minds. Regardless of promises made during the campaign season, whoever wins the election in November will face harsh realities in implementing plans for these important social issues.
According to the U.S. Social Security Administration’s current projections, the country will have exhausted trust fund reserves for Social Security by 2033. According to the administration’s August 2012 report, over 53 million Americans are on Social Security. This number will greatly increase, especially as the baby boomer generation grows older. Although it may be politically safe, ignoring Social Security in the short-term will not solve the problem. Unlike so many other politicians, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has not shied away from addressing this issue.
As president, Romney would modernize Social Security so that today’s seniors keep their benefits, while the program remains solvent for tomorrow. For Romney, this involves slowing the growth of benefits for people of higher income who depend on the program less. Social Security keeps many seniors out of poverty, and Romney’s plan ensures that the government will continue meeting these people’s needs.
The other step in Romney’s plan for Social Security gradually increases the retirement age to account for increased longevity; the retirement age was initially set at 65 when the program started under former President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935; in other words, the first 65-year-olds to collect Social Security were children of Civil War veterans.
Romney’s changes will affect only future generations of seniors, so seniors today can continue to count on their benefits. The alternative to adapting Social Security with the times is to let it go bankrupt.
For America’s younger generation, few issues have been as turbulent as education. Romney credits much of his success to his education and wants to ensure that quality education is available to all youths in the U.S.
It is Romney’s belief that all parents should have the ability to send their children to a quality school; this is currently a privilege that many parents cannot afford. To achieve this goal, Romney would devote more funds to eligible students so that their parents could choose to send them to any public or charter school they wish. Where permitted by state law, this program would also send low-income students to private schools.
Of course, Romney would also like to reform “No Child Left Behind” so that parents may better examine individual school performance.
Higher education affordability is an issue everyone in our generation faces. Romney plans to simplify the financial aid system by consolidating duplicate programs. More information will become available to students and parents about the available options regarding debt, repayments and future earnings, allowing students and parents to make well-informed decisions about higher education.
Romney would also deregulate higher education to allow for more innovation and competition, as well as the chance for institutions to enter the market, which refers to both loans and education.
Romney offers more than good oratory when it comes to social issues; he has a plan to set America back on track in the long term. Throwing money at problems including Social Security and education only makes everyone feel better for about five minutes. The past four years are evidence that real reforms must be made to underlying issues if America hopes to experience real change. President Romney will bring real reforms.
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