It's time for some honesty about Social Security

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Americans are living longer than ever. Mama D’Amato will turn 98 in a few weeks! To reform Social Security, the age should be permanently adjusted to 67. Keep in mind that any changes would not impact current recipients or anyone due to receive benefits in the next 10 years. Also, we need more realistic annual cost-of-living adjustments.

The employee tax rate for Social Security went up to 6.2 percent this year, as many of you noticed in your most recent paychecks. And I know no one wants to hear it, but 6.2 percent is probably still not sufficient, given our current deficits. Within the next 20 years, the Social Security trust fund will be spent. Think about the future of this nation.

Understand that undertaking any entitlement reform program is dangerous for a politician. People never want what they are “entitled” to taken away or adjusted. But we won’t survive if Social Security adds $200 billion to the country’s deficit in 2022.

Politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, have to make tough decisions.

In the wake of the Newtown shooting and other terrible incidents involving guns, Cuomo released a proposal aimed at curbing gun violence, saying he is ready for a gun-control bill that would be used as an example of “the toughest assault weapons ban in the nation.” The proposal includes a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, tougher penalties for illegal gun use and other reforms.

Although I’m a strong advocate of the Second Amendment and believe people should have the right to bear arms, I must commend the governor for being proactive in his work to ban assault weapons. However, a ban isn’t going to solve the problem.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has stated that nearly 90 percent of the firearms used to commit crime in New York City are from out of state, and most are illegal. In order to truly stop the violence, we must combat the sale of illegal firearms that are trafficked into our state, or we will surely witness more tragedies.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column?

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