Obama and McCain Offer Opinions on Social Security

An online game lets you test out different Social Security solutions.

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Presidential contenders John McCain and Barack Obama offered very different visions for solving Social Security's financial problems Saturday in separate satellite appearances at AARP's Life@50+ expo in Washington, D.C.

Senator McCain said he remains open to private investment accounts for younger people, while Senator Obama would rather raise taxes for those earning more than $250,000 a year to shore up the system.

You can watch Webcasts of the two candidates speaking to AARP here or read a summary of the two candidates' positions via the Wall Street Journal.

Think you have better ideas for fixing Social Security? Find out by playing the Social Security Game, created by the American Academy of Actuaries. This online game lets you test out different benefit reductions and revenue increases and tracks how far each choice goes toward solving the problem. It also provides some insight into the pros and cons of potential fixes.

For example, increasing the age when retirees receive full benefits to 70 would completely shore up Social Security, according to the calculator. But people with a physically demanding job or a disability won't realistically be able to work that long, and employers may balk at the higher healthcare costs of a workforce employed until age 70.

You can try out other options, like raising the payroll tax rate, increasing the limits on wages subject to Social Security, and reducing cost-of-living adjustments for benefits paid out every year to see how far each fix—or a combination of fixes—goes toward correcting the shortfall of the aging system.

If you find a solution that works, please tell us about it below.

McCain, John
Obama, Barack
social security

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