Successful proposals to achieve Social Security solvency and adequacy should adhere to the following principles. These principles should guide any updates to Social Security.
Achieve long-term solvency and adequacy—Social Security should be sufficiently financed to ensure solvency for the long term. Solvency proposals must ensure meaningful benefits for future generations.
Reaffirm Social Security’s fundamental character—Social Security should continue to provide a stable foundation for retirement income. It should remain a partnership among individuals, employers, and the federal government. It should also maintain its role in providing protection for workers and families affected by death or disability. All covered workers should contribute equitably to the program and receive benefits.
Ensure protections for those most in need—reforms should take into account the needs of those most reliant on Social Security and those who have difficulty postponing retirement.
Recognize the value of Social Security’s core elements—Social Security should continue to reward work. The key elements of Social Security’s successful program structure should be preserved: progressiveIn taxation, a situation in which people with lower income pay a smaller percentage of their income than do people with higher income. , defined benefits that cannot be outlived; inflation protection; and benefits related to earnings.
Make improvements to reflect today’s workforce—an updated Social Security program must address the economic and demographic changes over the last 85 years to be able to respond to the needs of future beneficiaries and their families.
Ensure fairness—changes to the program should be implemented gradually and should protect current beneficiaries and near-retirees.