It has been a while since I’ve written about Social Security–not because the issues have gone away, but because there are so many other things which need some attention. Thankfully, the Washington Post has taken a break from chasing Marco Rubio’s family history and is putting Social Security front and center:
Now, Social Security is sucking money out of the Treasury. This year, it will add a projected $46 billion to the nation’s budget problems, according to projections by system trustees. Replacing cash lost to a one-year payroll tax holiday will require an additional $105 billion. If the payroll tax break is expanded next year, as President Obama has proposed, Social Security will need an extra $267 billion to pay promised benefits.
Simply put, Social Security cannot support itself.
Social Security is hardly the biggest drain on the budget. But unless Congress acts, its finances will continue to deteriorate as the rising tide of baby boomers begins claiming benefits. The $2.6 trillion Social Security trust fund will provide little relief. The government has borrowed every cent and now must raise taxes, cut spending or borrow more heavily from outside investors to keep benefit checks flowing.
The trust fund cannot be trusted to do anything–since the money in the fund does not exist.
“Let’s worry about Social Security when it’s a problem. Today, it is not a problem,” [Senator Harry] Reid said to applause.
In an MSNBC interview, he added: “Social Security does not add a single penny, not a dime, a nickel, a dollar to the budget problems we have. Never has and, for the next 30 years, it won’t do that.”
Such statements have not been true since at least 2009, when the cost of monthly checks regularly began to exceed payroll tax collections. A spokesman said Reid stands by his comments and his view that Social Security is entirely self-financed. But Reid’s position has frustrated some Democrats who argue that fixing Social Security — the government’s single-largest program — would go a long way toward restoring confidence among future retirees and the nation’s investors.
The Democrat’s leader in the Senate is ignoring math.
And it goes on. Perhaps there is hope that this particular issue will be dealt with instead of shoved under the rug with so many others. Kudos to the Washington Post for doing its job and bringing an unpopular but essential truth to light.
Go and read it all.