Just because millennials won't be retiring for decades doesn't mean that Social Security isn't a pivotal issue for them this election. With floods of Baby Boomers hanging up their hats, our Social Security system is already feeling unprecedented strain. The looming crisis doesn't just stem from the sheer number of Baby Boomers (though the moniker is certainly accurate); it's also due to the fact that, unlike their predecessors, Gen X-ers and millennials carry historically high burdens of student debt, while their employers are also cutting back on pension plans.
If these stats are giving you premature gray hairs, don't panic. Social Security was created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression to be a pay-it-forward system. But as their parents start to scope out Florida condos, millennials face a future of supporting a big retired population while having fewer avenues for long-term retirement savings.
Legislatures are already strategizing about how to bolster the Social Security system so that it survives for future Americans, though the two parties disagree about how best to achieve that goal. While Democrats favor increasing payroll contributions to Social Security, Republicans argue for its partial privatization, so that workers can put some of their earnings into personal accounts. In either case, it's clear that Social Security will have to undergo major reform if it's going to survive.
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