The collapse in home values (a main source of personal wealth for many), the big drop in the stock market following the economy meltdown, and the long term trend away from traditional pensions have, surprisingly, left a growing majority of adults feeling they don’t have enough saved for retirement. From Gallup:

When you retire, do you think you will have enough money to live comfortably, or not?

Less than ten years ago you had large majorities believing they had enough set aside for their old age. Since 2008 there has been a total reversal. Now only 38% think they have enough for retirement, while 55% believe they do not.

An honest look at the total situation should lead people to the conclusion that the only real crisis with Social Security is that its benefits are not large enough. Given the collapse of the other two primary sources of retirement income, personal savings and employer pensions, there is a real need to increase the size of the public social insurance system which has been working well in these times. With so many people struggling at this moment what Congress should currently be working at is modestly increasing Social Security to make up for the break down of our private retirement systems.

Instead, the “crisis” with Social Security our elected officials in Washington appear to be so worried about is that the program is merely fully funded for the next two decades. Given the recent surge in people worrying about being able to afford retirement, the last thing we need is cuts to Social Security benefits, yet that is what members of both parties have been trying to do for the past few years.

Anyone who says we “don’t have the money” should be directed to look at our military budget, which is roughly five times larger then the next largest country’s.