We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Calling it welfare is not helpful. It just irritates millions of people who worked and paid in for decades. Seniors then balk at the slightest suggestion of changes.
You can say it is operated like welfare in some respects. I would first separate the ordinary Social Security payments from the Disability payments and fund the latter from the general fund.
I would also spin off the other SSA functions such as Medicare insurance collections.
That would clarify what SS means and also reduce its total payouts.
The downside is that total administration costs would probably rise somewhat. And Congress would have to go to work to deal with the spinoffs. Well, government is their job, they should do it.
Then I would balance the SS fund. Payments would rise or fall depending upon the SS taxes collected in the prior year. There would be screams about fairness but the world is not fair; staggering onward until the fund goes broke is not government, it is folly.
The problem with luring immigrants? The Ponzi Scam? It can't increase SS revenues unless the immigrants find jobs, and rather well paying jobs at that. Do you see a lot of unfilled jobs?
Right now we don't even know what we intend. SS has several functions and by law must run a deficit in our lukewarm economy. Simplify, clarify, and balance.