Politics

Social Security and Medicare Trustees

Every time I think we can’t sink any lower, we do. How can we expect citizens to make informed decisions if they can’t trust information from anyone with an agenda to push? The claims made in a Tweet shown at the end of this post are half truths or not true at all.

To make the program fully solvent requires more income and or reduced benefits. You may or may not think such changes “minor tweaks.” Sure, any program can be expanded if everyone wants to pay more, that’s always true.

However, The SS program is not “well- funded‼️”

The fact is the Trustees have been warning Congress and urging action to make SS sustainable for over a decade.

Read the following from the Trustees Report. Oh did I mention this quote is from the 2008 report? Also, that 2041 date is now 2035.

Annual cost will begin to exceed tax income in 2017 for the combined OASDI Trust Funds, which are projected to become exhausted and thus unable to pay scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis in 2041 under the long-range intermediate assumptions. For the trust funds to remain solvent throughout the 75-year projection period, the combined payroll tax rate could be increased during the period in a manner equivalent to an immediate and permanent increase of 1.70 percentage points, benefits could be reduced dur­ing the period in a manner equivalent to an immediate and permanent reduc­tion of 11.5 percent, general revenue transfers equivalent to $4.3 trillion in present value could be made during the period, or some combination of approaches could be adopted. Significantly larger changes would be required to maintain solvency beyond 75 years.
The projected trust fund deficits should be addressed in a timely way to allow for a gradual phasing in of the necessary changes and to provide advance notice to workers. Making adjustments sooner will allow them to be spread over more generations. Social Security plays a critical role in the lives of 50 million beneficiaries and 164 million covered workers and their fami­lies in 2008. With informed discussion, creative thinking, and timely legisla­tive action, present and future Congresses and Presidents can ensure that Social Security continues to protect future generations.

If you doubt the political one-sided bias of this junk, look at the swipe at Trump. Fact is the Trustees are set by law and the two public trustees appointed by the President must be from the opposite party.

In addition, the consistency of these reports over the years written by the actuaries and other experts, not the Trustees, shows the state of SS or the findings in annual report have nothing to do with Trump, any President or the current Trustees.

Here is the law related to the Trustees.

When the original Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund was established by the 1939 Social Security Amendments, a Board of Trustees was established for the fund composed of:

  • The Secretary of Treasury, designated as Managing Trustee and Chair

  • The Secretary of Labor, and

  • The Chairman of the Social Security Advisory Board, which after several reorganizations was superceded on the Board of Trustees by the

  • Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The two public trustees are nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and may not be from the same political party. 

https://www.ssa.gov/history/reports/trustees/historypt.html

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2 replies »

  1. It has most to do with Congress and the few oligarchs who make heavy political contributions (often very dark money) in order to get the US government out of the pension business. Most of these wealthy are very old and have no personal stake in the outcome, but are obsessed with redefining America as a pure capitalist country. Speaker Paul Ryan was their chief but not their only spokesperson on this. It would be very easy to ramp up the FICA tax tables to maintain the fund. Since 50+ % of Americans will regard SS as their principle source of retirement income, it’s obviously going to be essential.

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  2. He deems a ~3% increase in the payroll tax (over the current 12.4% rate as “small” – any ~25% increase in a tax rate doesn’t’t make my “small”, “insignificant” or “minor” list. How about yours?

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