Most Americans want to rely on Social Security to help them in retirement. Social Security's financial challenges have made many call for cuts to the program, but over the past week, a growing chorus of elected officials have said that they think Social Security shouldexpandrather than get smaller. What's the thinking behind this counterintuitive position? 

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, goes through the arguments that lawmakers such as Sen. Tom Harkin and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have made, with calls to expand benefits for retirees. Dan notes that Sen. Harkin's proposal would change the formula for calculating benefits to increase monthly payments, at the cost of phasing out the current cap on wages subject to Social Security taxes. But Dan also discusses some other alternatives, including the Australian superannuation model of forced contributions from employers combined with voluntarily contributions from employees. With the retirement crisis in full force, Dan points out that Social Security in its current form can only be part of the eventual solution.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.