By Joseph Huff-Hannon
New York City
Social Security "does not face an immediate crisis," said David Walker, office comptroller general for the Government Accountability Office.
But it does face long-term financial planning challenges, which should be address sooner rather than later, Walker said.
Walker criticized President George W Bush for an aggressive campaign meant to sell younger workers on a Social Security private investment plan, and said Congress only need to improve current financing for the program's continued success.
Social Security poll results indicate that citizens of the United States do not fully understand the program. Responses are mixed on whether or not the Social Security Administration is indeed in a state of crisis, even more so on whether part of Social Security withholding tax should be privatized.
Six in ten told a FOX News poll that they need more information to understand how a portion of their Social Security withholding tax would work in private accounts, but 48 percent (majority) said they did want a choice to invest. When asked if Social Security was in a state of crisis, 57 percent said yes, but for a CNN poll, 17 percent said Social Security is in a state of crisis. For that CNN poll, 55 percent said the Social Security Administration has major problems, and 55 percent said private investment is a bad idea.
The view for younger people -- to the longevity of Social Security -- is as varied as benefits. For a Newsweek poll, 62 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 said Social Security will not be around when they retire and of 35 to 44 year olds 56 percent said Social Security benefits would die off before they do. Poll data was collected during February 2005.
Will Social Security be available for your retirement? What administration processes will prevent sudden death of Social Security? Is there immediate need for changing Social Security for the first time since 1938? Is Social Security, which operates in a surplus, in a state of crisis?
This five-part series will address all of these questions.
For Social Security Online (Social Security card, benefits, claims and services) visit http://www.ssa.gov/
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