Government

The (non-existent) Social Security surplus

Let’s be clear what a surplus is. Here is the definition.

sur·plus

ˈsərpləs/

noun

an amount of something left over when requirements have been met; an excess of production or supply over demand.”exports of food surpluses”

Anyone who claims the $2.9 trillion in reserves held by the Social Security trust is a surplus is misinformed, ignorant or intentionally trying to mislead you for political purposes. That $2.9 trillion is fully committed to pay benefits between now and 2035 as is the interest on the Treasury bonds in which it is invested.

The $2.9 trillion will not be left over, it is not an excess. Once it is used over the next seventeen years to pay benefits already promised, it’s gone and unless there are changes made, so are the full benefits you are collecting or were promised. Your benefits will be cut by about 25% unless things change.

So, where’s the surplus⁉️

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4 replies »

  1. There is a simple answer. The pay role tax for social security is 6,2 percent. Raise it to 7.0 percent. That’s almost a 13 percent increase in revenue for social security and only a very small increase in what is being withheld from our pay check. If you make 50k per year that’s only about $8 per week. If done soon it would delay social security from running out of money for enough years that most of the baby boomers would be gone. Wouldn’t most people rather see a small increase in the withholding than a big cut in social security when they really need it. Many social security recipients are already below the poverty line now. Let’s not make it worse.

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    • The Trustees have stated the amount of added tax to keep SS solvent for in each report for a decade. It’s actually about 2.67% half paid by employer so it’s quite a bit more than 0.08% but in any case Congress has simply ignited every option.

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  2. Where is the government going to get the 2.9 trillion, as the bonds are cashed to pay benefits over the next 17 years?
    Borrowing it I assume, will be the answer the politicians come up with. Interest on the 2.9 trillion will be 116 billion per year @ 4% interest rate. In 10 years it will equal 1.16 trillion, in 25 years it will equal the 2.9 trillion that was borrowed. And that is not counting the interest paid over the next 17 years as the bonds are cashed. Or, the interest paid on the current 21 trillion in debt that the politicians have saddled the future generations with, to pay and pay and pay.
    When the Ponzi scheme of federal government debt implodes, it is going to make the Great Depression of the 1930s look like a Sunday picnic. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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  3. Yes, politicians like to give words their own special meaning. One of my favorites is “cuts”, as used by one side to accuse the other side of reducing a proposed increase even if the result is still an increase.

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