Brett Arends’s ROI: Are Social Security and Medicare doomed? Someone wants you to think so.

by | Jul 21, 2023 | Stock Market

There’s been a sustained campaign under way for several decades to persuade Americans that Social Security and Medicare are simply “unaffordable,” and that they’re doomed whether you like it or not. Even though it’s nonsense, apparently it’s working.

Fewer than 15% of baby boomers now say they are “very confident” that Social Security will maintain benefits at current levels or better in the future, according to a new survey. The figures are even lower among younger generations: Fewer than 14% of millennials are very confident that the program will maintain benefits, and fewer than 11% of Generation X. These numbers are swamped in each cohort, by factors of two, three or four to one, by those who are “not confident” at all. The sentiment is similar regarding Medicare: At this stage more than half of Generation X—those born between 1965 and 1980—are “not confident” Medicare will persist in offering the same benefits it does today. Read: ‘We were surprised in a good way.’ Hearing aids may cut dementia risk by half in older adults. The numbers appear in a new report by the Employee Benefits and Retirement Institute, a well-regarded and nonpartisan research organization focused on both private retirement preparedness and the social safety net. It’s another sign that marketing beats substance, time and again. There are actually no good reasons why either Social Security or Medicare should have to cut benefits. If this happens, it will be a deliberate policy choice. But the best way to persuade people to let it happen is to persuade them that it’s inevitable. Resistance is futile. Somewhat ironically, the numbers appear buried in a report about the devastating private costs borne by unpaid informal caregivers — costs that would …

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