In the political arena today, almost everytime you hear the words "social security "the phrase "crisis" or "problem" isn't far behind.
With 78 million baby boomers beginning to retire in 2008 and more for the next 2 decades after that President Bush and his allies point to 2042 as the drop dead date for when the system will go broke.
But some Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups say that date is way too early, and accuse the White House of using scare tactics to force quick change upon a system that has served america's seniors for over 70 years.
"It's probably in a mess and needs to be straightened up, but i don't know that it's necessarily the mess that we hear in so many of the reports," says local engineer David Clark.
Clark and his wife Theresa are planning their retirement under the assumption that Social Security won't be there, but he's still not sure all of the government's numbers add up.
"I have a hard time understanding where these projections come from that look 40 or 50 years into the future, when it seems like we can't even work out a budget from one year to the next," Clark says.
Local retirement specialist Tony Walker says the system was never designed to handle the trillions of dollars flowing through it today.
"They just didn't expect this many people to live this long. So mathematically you can't continue on with this program under the same scenario," says Walker.
"I would tell people who are roughly my age in their 30's and 40s don't really count on social security, that's what we're telling people in our practice."
"Been thinking about it for many years, and David and I talk about it some, but you know we just sorta figure we're gonna work until we die. That there's not gonna be anything there for us, and we're just gonna hafta keep working," David's wife, Theresa, says.
For Theresa and David, the question of when the system goes broke isn't nearly as important as the question of why nothing's been done to fix it.
Ii have no control over it. they take it, they do want they want with it to pay off what they want, it is not doing what it was designed to do. Absolutely not fulfilling its purpose and should've been fixed a long time ago," Theresa says.