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mickeyd 05-30-2008 01:59 PM

SS May Never Run Out of $$
 
This is the kind of good news that I like to read about. Sure this is just another SS projection, however it may be just as valid as the others that predict doom/gloom.

Quote:

Guess what? Under the actuaries' low cost projection, the Social Security system never runs out of money.
That said, you might ask the question why this more realistic projection has escaped politicians from both major parties.
False-Alarm: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

donheff 05-30-2008 03:21 PM

Guess what? Under the actuaries' low cost projection, the Social Security system never runs out of money.

But there isn't any real money - just a bunch of IOUs. That was probably OK until we ran up an extra trillion or so in Iraq war IOUs. Now we are seriously in debt. But maybe we can escape through inflation (i.e. pay off the debt in cheap dollars) -- that seems to be picking up.

mark500 05-30-2008 09:13 PM

Medicare is in far worse shape than Social Security. SS is a relatively easy fix compared to Medicare.

Lazarus 05-31-2008 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by donheff (Post 663499)
Guess what? Under the actuaries' low cost projection, the Social Security system never runs out of money.

But there isn't any real money - just a bunch of IOUs. That was probably OK until we ran up an extra trillion or so in Iraq war IOUs. Now we are seriously in debt. But maybe we can escape through inflation (i.e. pay off the debt in cheap dollars) -- that seems to be picking up.


Social Security began in 1935. We got through WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I before this conflict. The Iraq war is not larger than these past conflicts and we survived them as did Social Security. In fact we fought the Vietnam war and went to the Moon at the same time.

samclem 05-31-2008 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by donheff (Post 663499)
That was probably OK until we ran up an extra trillion or so in Iraq war IOUs.

I missed the news--Did the government stop spending on everything but the Iraq war? I wonder why this is being singled out? The "free" prescription drug benefit doesn't get mentioned, the other spending escapes examination--but spending on this one (admitedly big and new, but not a big part of govt spending overall) thing seems to come up regardless of the topic. Funny . . .

Khan 05-31-2008 11:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by samclem (Post 663772)
I missed the news--Did the government stop spending on everything but the Iraq war? I wonder why this is being singled out? The "free" prescription drug benefit doesn't get mentioned, the other spending escapes examination--but spending on this one (admitedly big and new, but not a big part of govt spending overall) thing seems to come up regardless of the topic. Funny . . .

Problem is: War in Iraq is off-budget.

ladelfina 05-31-2008 11:30 AM

Quote:

But there isn't any real money - just a bunch of IOUs.
That describes pretty much the entire world financial system..! ;)

Independent 05-31-2008 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mickeyd (Post 663467)
This is the kind of good news that I like to read about. Sure this is just another SS projection, however it may be just as valid as the others that predict doom/gloom.


False-Alarm: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

I have two problems with the article.

First, it says that the Trustees projections are unrealistically conservative. The key sentences are:

Quote:

The intermediate projection assumes that the economy will grow by an annual rate of 2.3% per year between now and 2085. This may be higher than the 1.9% per year that was projected as recently as three years ago, but it is still well below the 3.4% that the economy grew on average between 1960 and 2005.
In the Trustees projections, the "economy" is essentially (number of workers) x (productivity per worker).
From 1960 to 2005, the number of workers grew at an average annual rate of 1.5%.
From 2005 to 2085, the Trustees project that the number of workers will grow at an average annual rate of 0.5%.
The 1.0% difference in the growth in workers is a very close match to the 1.1% difference in economic growth.

There are a number of things that could change the number of workers - higher immigration, higher birth rates, or delayed retirements.
But one or more of these has to change substantially to have an impact on SS.


Second, the "good news" about SS never running out of money is the result of the the interest on the trust fund being so high that it fills the gap between number of workers and number of retirees.
But the interest on the trust fund has to be paid by some sort of federal taxes, probably the individual FIT. (I'm assuming that we're going to run out of the ability to borrow from foreign countries one of these days.)
So, if you don't plan to pay federal income taxes, this really is good news. If you do think you're going to be paying FIT, then it doesn't sound so good.

old woman 06-01-2008 12:14 AM

The thing all the doom and gloomers forget is that the boomers will die. The oldest are 62 now in 20 years they will be 82 some will already be dead and the youngest boomers will all be old enough to retire. After that more and more early boomers will die and a few younger ones. Many boomers will be dead before they are 92 so the retired population will get smaller in the next 30 years and continue to get smaller fast the following 10 years until it more workers per retired person. If a young worker isn't planning to retire for 40 years the whole baby boomer SS issue will be history. I am 60 and in 40 years don't expect to have a lot of my peer group.

Midpack 06-01-2008 06:30 AM

The cost of wars or spending in general has less to do with Social Security solvency --- the inescapable underlying problem is the worker to retiree ratio. In 1935, there were 42 workers for each retiree. Plenty of places to find this info online, here's just one Social Security: Follow the Math with an excerpt quoted.
Quote:

In 1950, there were 16 workers paying taxes into the system for every retiree who was taking benefits out of it. Today, there are a little more than three. By the time the baby boomers retire, there will be just two workers who will have to pay all the taxes to support every one retiree.
Fewer workers for more retirees mean each worker bears an increasing financial burden to pay the benefits that Social Security has promised. The original Social Security tax was just 2 percent on the first $3,000 that a worker earned, a maximum tax of $60 per year. By 1960, payroll taxes had risen to 6 percent. Today's workers pay a payroll tax of 12.4 percent.
And for the umpteenth time:
Quote:

First, the current Social Security system is what is known as a "pay-as-you-go" system. It is not a savings or investment system, but a simple transfer from workers to retirees. The payroll taxes from each generation of workers are not saved or invested for that generation's retirement, but are used to pay benefits for those already retired. The current generation of workers must then hope that when their retirement comes, the next generation of workers will pay the taxes to support their benefits, and so on.
Even at my advanced age, I am planning on 50% of the benefit that my SS statement projects. If the benefits are better, I'll be able to buy chicken breasts instead of thighs & wings...

Independent 06-01-2008 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by old woman (Post 663938)
The thing all the doom and gloomers forget is that the boomers will die. The oldest are 62 now in 20 years they will be 82 some will already be dead and the youngest boomers will all be old enough to retire. After that more and more early boomers will die and a few younger ones. Many boomers will be dead before they are 92 so the retired population will get smaller in the next 30 years and continue to get smaller fast the following 10 years until it more workers per retired person. If a young worker isn't planning to retire for 40 years the whole baby boomer SS issue will be history. I am 60 and in 40 years don't expect to have a lot of my peer group.

You are correct about the boomers - they will die eventually. The growth in the retired population slows down, but it never actually shrinks.

The problem for Gen-X is that they didn't have enough children. Just like the Boomers, they're only replacing themselves. The WWII generation had 3 kids per couple, the BB and Gen-X only had 2. That means only 2/3 as many workers to pay taxes.

The SS actuaries take mortality, fertility, and immigration into account when they do their projections. They say that the ratio of retirees to workers never turns around. You can see their numbers at:
2008 Trustees Report: Section IV.B, Long-range estimates

samclem 06-01-2008 03:29 PM

Midpack,

Well, to be completely accurate, the SS is not strictly pay-as-you-go. If it were, many of us would have thousands of more dollars in our paychecks over our working lives. For decades the system has collected much more than was being payed out (or what would have been due if it was truly pay-as-you-go), and this excess was loaned to the government to pay the shortfall in general revenues. The government will start paying this back to SS as soon as the SS taxes are less than SS payments to beneficiaries. Where will this money come from? Some combination of the usual three places:
- More taxes
- Cuts in the fed budget (could be anywhere, incl social security payments)
- More borrowing

Midpack 06-01-2008 06:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by samclem (Post 664063)
Midpack,

Well, to be completely accurate, the SS is not strictly pay-as-you-go. If it were, many of us would have thousands of more dollars in our paychecks over our working lives. For decades the system has collected much more than was being payed out (or what would have been due if it was truly pay-as-you-go), and this excess was loaned to the government to pay the shortfall in general revenues. The government will start paying this back to SS as soon as the SS taxes are less than SS payments to beneficiaries. Where will this money come from? Some combination of the usual three places:
- More taxes
- Cuts in the fed budget (could be anywhere, incl social security payments)
- More borrowing

Our deficit today is:

https://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/debtiv.gif

Seems to me that would make it pay-as-you-go...

samclem 06-01-2008 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 664107)
Our deficit today is:

https://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/debtiv.gif

Seems to me that would make it pay-as-you-go...

??

Independent 06-02-2008 08:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 664107)
Our deficit today is:
[ $ 9.4 trillion ]
Seems to me that would make it pay-as-you-go...

It's not clear where you're going with this. Yes, the Federal gov't in total has spent more money than it has collected in taxes. But the SS portion has collected more taxes than it has paid in benefits. Let's be clear on the components of the $9.4 trillion:

$5.3 trillion of that is "owed to the public" (including bonds held by the Federal Reserve).
The other $4.1 trillion is intergovernmental debt, as follows:

$2.1 trillion is owed to the "Old Age and Survivors" portion of SS
$0.2 trillion is owed to the Disability Income portion of SS
$0.3 trillion to Medicare
$0.9 trillion to Federal civil service and mililtary pension funds
and then a lot of miscellaneous.

https://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/r...debt_mar08.pdf

aenlighten 06-02-2008 12:23 PM

I do expect growth to slow with population
 
but not by as much as the intermediate projection which is very pessimistic. The reason is productivity tends to rise somewhat as population growth slows. The UK is a good example of this. They have had 2.5% growth over the last 30 years with no population growth. Most likely it is somewhere between intermediate and low cost and since the model isn't accurate enough to predict more than 30 years in the future, action now isn't warranted. In particular, when boomers retire will sizably affect predictions.

The boomers are a transition from a growing population to a stable population so any shortfall will not end with them. While we will pay out more in SS in the future, I see this as a benefit if it reduces the amount we waste on foreign military adventures. The SS midcost projection is for 75% of benefits that will be over 35% larger than current benefits, or slightly more than current benefits. It is possible longer lives in retirement will require an increase in taxes but this would be quite modest. Medicare is the real problem and will require a healthcare solution.

rmark 06-02-2008 03:56 PM

'But there isn't any real money - just a bunch of IOUs.'

IIRC, under low cost all benefits are paid out of incoming cash flow, leaving the pseudo trust fund intact.

Midpack 06-02-2008 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Independent (Post 664273)
It's not clear where you're going with this. Yes, the Federal gov't in total has spent more money than it has collected in taxes. But the SS portion has collected more taxes than it has paid in benefits. Let's be clear on the components of the $9.4 trillion:

$5.3 trillion of that is "owed to the public" (including bonds held by the Federal Reserve).
The other $4.1 trillion is intergovernmental debt, as follows:

$2.1 trillion is owed to the "Old Age and Survivors" portion of SS
$0.2 trillion is owed to the Disability Income portion of SS
$0.3 trillion to Medicare
$0.9 trillion to Federal civil service and mililtary pension funds
and then a lot of miscellaneous.

https://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/r...debt_mar08.pdf

Regardless of what the deficit is, it's considerable --- from there, how much seems beside the point. Is there excess cash (not debt/unfunded liabilities) somewhere to fund social security and if so just exactly where? Companies issue bonds and pay from future income, earnings. Governments issue bonds and pay from future income, ultimately taxes. So SS (and Medicare and every other gubmint benefit) would appear to be strictly pay-as-you-go. Believe me I'd love to learn that "SS will never run out of $$" after all, what am I missing?

laurence 06-02-2008 05:15 PM

As always, the answer probably lies somewhere in between. And the solution will be made up of a combination of raising the income ceiling for SS tax collection and reduction of benefits.

One interesting thing for me, my company's pension has an option to take a very large check from age 55 to age 67 and then have it reduce by the amount of my social security benefit. Good option!

kombat 06-03-2008 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 664107)
Our deficit today is: $9.4 trillion

This is, of course, the debt, not the deficit. There's an enormous difference.

ziggy29 06-03-2008 09:15 AM

As long as taxes are coming in, of *course* it will never completely run out of money. It just might not have enough income to meet its full obligations.

rs0460a 06-03-2008 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Independent (Post 664045)
You are correct about the boomers - they will die eventually.

Darn - you just ruined my day with that statement :coolsmiley: ...

- Ron

Midpack 06-03-2008 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kombat (Post 664593)
This is, of course, the debt, not the deficit. There's an enormous difference.

True enough, I should have said national debt. Not sure I follow the 'enormous difference' though as the national debt is the accumulated (net) deficit.

OAG 06-04-2008 04:26 AM

The "enormous difference" is in size == otherwise one is part of the other and they are part and parcel the same. I wonder what the "credit rating" would be now versus 10 years ago or will be 10 years from now.

kombat 06-04-2008 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 664828)
True enough, I should have said national debt. Not sure I follow the 'enormous difference' though as the national debt is the accumulated (net) deficit.

The "enormous difference" is roughly the same as the difference between one's mortgage payment and one's mortgage balance.

One is typically many orders of magnitude larger than the other. ;) I'd say that qualifies as "enormous"!

Midpack 06-04-2008 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kombat (Post 665031)
The "enormous difference" is roughly the same as the difference between one's mortgage payment and one's mortgage balance.

One is typically many orders of magnitude larger than the other. ;) I'd say that qualifies as "enormous"!

I already agreed that I meant debt and inavertantly wrote deficit. No disagreement, but this is a tangential discussion to my post(s) and the topic. The point was SS is a pay-as-you-go system...

samclem 06-04-2008 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 665304)
The point was SS is a pay-as-you-go system...

According to your own unique definition of pay-as-you-go, which apparently includes the idea of squirelling away a lot of extra payments in the beginning, then using these saved-up credits at a later time (which is precisely how SS has operated). As your definition of pay-as-you-go is (in my experience) different from the commonly understood definition of pay-as-you-go, I'd recommend that you carefully explain your re-definition of the term when you start using it with others.

Midpack 06-04-2008 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by samclem (Post 665358)
According to your own unique definition of pay-as-you-go, which apparently includes the idea of squirelling away a lot of extra payments in the beginning, then using these saved-up credits at a later time (which is precisely how SS has operated). As your definition of pay-as-you-go is (in my experience) different from the commonly understood definition of pay-as-you-go, I'd recommend that you carefully explain your re-definition of the term when you start using it with others.

I missed your response to our first exchange on pay-as-you-go. Where is this excess you described?
Quote:

Originally Posted by samclem
Midpack,

Well, to be completely accurate, the SS is not strictly pay-as-you-go. If it were, many of us would have thousands of more dollars in our paychecks over our working lives. For decades the system has collected much more than was being payed out (or what would have been due if it was truly pay-as-you-go), and this excess was loaned to the government to pay the shortfall in general revenues. The government will start paying this back to SS as soon as the SS taxes are less than SS payments to beneficiaries. Where will this money come from? Some combination of the usual three places:
- More taxes
- Cuts in the fed budget (could be anywhere, incl social security payments)
- More borrowing
Midpack added: These are all characteristic of pay-as-you-go...

Quote:

Originally Posted by MidPack
Regardless of what the debt is, it's considerable --- from there, how much seems beside the point. Is there excess cash (not debt/unfunded liabilities) somewhere to fund social security and if so just exactly where? If not, SS (and Medicare and every other gubmint benefit) would appear to be strictly pay-as-you-go. Believe me I'd love to learn that "SS will never run out of $$" after all, what am I missing?


cashflo2u2 06-04-2008 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by samclem (Post 664063)
Midpack,

Well, to be completely accurate, the SS is not strictly pay-as-you-go. If it were, many of us would have thousands of more dollars in our paychecks over our working lives. For decades the system has collected much more than was being payed out (or what would have been due if it was truly pay-as-you-go), and this excess was loaned to the government to pay the shortfall in general revenues. The government will start paying this back to SS as soon as the SS taxes are less than SS payments to beneficiaries. Where will this money come from? Some combination of the usual three places:
- More taxes
- Cuts in the fed budget (could be anywhere, incl social security payments)
- More borrowing


That would not be accurate by a long shot. "pay as you go" does not mean paying out the surpluses as an add on to the SS payment checks currently due. That is a ridiculous interpretation of the term. Pay as you go means to pay the obligations as they come due out of the current cash balances on hand, if available.

samclem 06-04-2008 07:24 PM

As has been explained by Independent and others, the excess is in the form of government bonds. That is, bonds that the government will pay to the SS system.

So, no, they are not in "cash." They are only a promise to pay. But, to take you reasoning to the extreme, when you put money in the bank, you don't have "cash" either, since you've only got the bank's promise to pay you when you come back in the next day. Heck, even burying piles of money in the backyard wouldn't meet your standards since those greenbacks are only a "promise to pay".

SS is simply not pay-as-you-go. Neither is the US Government budget, since we are racking up liabilities and not "paying as we go." When income = expenditures you'll have a "pay as we go" system.

samclem 06-04-2008 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cashflo2u2 (Post 665381)
That would not be accurate by a long shot. "pay as you go" does not mean paying out the surpluses as an add on to the SS payment checks currently due. That is a ridiculous interpretation of the term. Pay as you go means to pay the obligations as they come due out of the current cash balances on hand, if available.

You've inserted something I never said (pay out the surpluses as they are collected) and then called it "ridiculous." If we were truly "paying as we go," there would never have been any excess SS taxes. Instead, we would have paid the obligations (e.g. benefits due each month to beneficiaries) with current taxes from those paying in. There would have been no excesses nor deficits. THAT is "paying as you go." Now, I'm not saying that is the best way to have organized Social Security cash flows, I'm just saying that truth-in-labeling would require that only this method could truly be called "pay-as-you-go.

Is this really that hard?

Wow, with so much difference of opinion/misunderstanding of what "paying as you go" means, I'm not surprised that our national savings rate is in the toilet.

Midpack 06-05-2008 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by samclem
Is this really that hard?

Wow, with so much difference of opinion/misunderstanding of what "paying as you go" means, I'm not surprised that our national savings rate is in the toilet.

'Hard' indeed. This is obviously futile so let's just agree to disagree. I'd urge you and Independent to make the Social Security Administration (along with countless other knowledgeable people) aware of your findings. I am sure they will be grateful after all these years of 'misunderstanding.' Look what those silly folks at Social Security seem to think Social Security's Future - FAQs:

https://www.ssa.gov/img_lib/qa_files/Q_1.gif Does Social Security have dedicated assets invested for my retirement?
https://www.ssa.gov/img_lib/qa_files/a_1.gif Social Security is largely a "pay-as-you-go" system with today's taxpayers paying for the benefits of today's retirees. Money not needed to pay today's benefits is invested in special-issue Treasury bonds.

W2R 06-05-2008 04:52 PM

Interesting! I really don't care which of you are "right" (you're both pretty sharp, y'know), but I thought the next question and answer were interesting, too:


https://www.ssa.gov/img_lib/qa_files/Q_1.gif Is there really a Social Security trust fund?

https://www.ssa.gov/img_lib/qa_files/a_1.gif Yes. Presently, Social Security collects more in taxes than it pays in benefits. The excess is borrowed by the U.S. Treasury, which in turn issues special-issue Treasury bonds to Social Security.


So much for all those folks who say there isn't one! :2funny: I suppose it all comes down to semantics.

Midpack 06-05-2008 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Want2retire (Post 665728)
https://www.ssa.gov/img_lib/qa_files/Q_1.gif Is there really a Social Security trust fund?

https://www.ssa.gov/img_lib/qa_files/a_1.gif Yes. Presently, Social Security collects more in taxes than it pays in benefits. The excess is borrowed by the U.S. Treasury, which in turn issues special-issue Treasury bonds to Social Security.


So much for all those folks who say there isn't one! :2funny: I suppose it all comes down to semantics.

Semantics? W2R, ever the peacemaker (a virtue to be sure)...

Social Security Trust Fund - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"On February 2, 2005, President George W. Bush made Social Security a prominent theme of his State of the Union Address. One consequence was increased public attention to the nature of the Social Security Trust Fund. Unlike a typical private pension plan, the Social Security Trust Fund does not hold any marketable assets to secure workers' paid-in contributions. Instead, it holds non-negotiable United States Treasury bonds and U.S. securities backed "by the full faith and credit of the government". The Office of Management and Budget has described the distinction as follows:
These [Trust Fund] balances are available to finance future benefit payments and other Trust Fund expenditures – but only in a bookkeeping sense.... They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures. The existence of large Trust Fund balances, therefore, does not, by itself, have any impact on the Government’s ability to pay benefits. (from FY 2000 Budget, Analytical Perspectives, p. 337)"
That's why SSA and almost any reliable source characterizes SS as pay-as-you-go. But we're all welcome to spin it as we see fit...

cashflo2u2 06-05-2008 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by samclem (Post 665409)
You've inserted something I never said (pay out the surpluses as they are collected) and then called it "ridiculous." If we were truly "paying as we go," there would never have been any excess SS taxes. Instead, we would have paid the obligations (e.g. benefits due each month to beneficiaries) with current taxes from those paying in. There would have been no excesses nor deficits. THAT is "paying as you go." Now, I'm not saying that is the best way to have organized Social Security cash flows, I'm just saying that truth-in-labeling would require that only this method could truly be called "pay-as-you-go.

Is this really that hard?

Wow, with so much difference of opinion/misunderstanding of what "paying as you go" means, I'm not surprised that our national savings rate is in the toilet.

I should not have used the word "ridiculous". Here is the def from wikip:
"Social Insurance

In social insurance, PAYGO refers to an unfunded system in which current contributors to the system pay the expenses for the current recipients. In a pure PAYGO system, no reserves are accumulated and all contributions are paid out in the same period. The opposite of a PAYGO system is a funded system, in which contributions are accumulated and paid out later (together with the interest on it) when eligibility requirements are met.

[edit] U.S. Social Security

An important example of such a PAYGO system in this second sense is Social Security in the U.S. In that system, contributions are paid by the currently employed population in the form of a payroll tax, also called the FICA tax, which stands for the "Federal Insurance Contributions Act", while recipients are mostly individuals of at least 62 years of age. Social Security is not a pure PAYGO system, because it accumulates excess revenue in so-called Trust Funds, officially known as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Trust Funds (OASDI).

[edit] Explanation

These kind of PAYGO systems can be implemented quickly, because no reserves are necessary to finance the expenses of the first generation of recipients. However, these windfall gains of the first generation have to be financed by following generations. By paying the expenses of generation t, the following generation t+1 relies on future contributions of generation t+2 to cover its expenses. In this fashion, the windfall gains of the first generations are passed along over generations and, hypothetically, the last generation would have to finance its own expenses and that of the preceding generation."

PAYGO - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If that is what you said then you were correct.

samclem 06-05-2008 08:18 PM

cashflo2u,
Thanks very much for doing the research and posting that info. I did a quick search, but didn't dig as far as you did.

Interesting how they cite the US SS system as a "funded system" and the "opposite of a PAYGO system," but then call it one type of PAYGO system.

It looks like everyone can be right!

cashflo2u2 06-06-2008 07:12 AM

Samclem, what a happy outcome!

Independent 06-06-2008 08:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 665711)
'Hard' indeed. This is obviously futile so let's just agree to disagree. I'd urge you and Independent to make the Social Security Administration (along with countless other knowledgeable people) aware of your findings. I am sure they will be grateful after all these years of 'misunderstanding.' Look what those silly folks at Social Security seem to think Social Security's Future - FAQs:

bonds.

I've avoided the whole semantic argument about the definition of "paygo".

I think I've said two things on the "trust fund" issue.

The first refers to the "low cost" assumptions in the trustees report. They show that the current benefit schedules can be maintained indefinitely. The original link claims that the low cost assumptions are likely. I disagreed, but added that, if they really did happen:

Quote:

Second, the "good news" about SS never running out of money is the result of the the interest on the trust fund being so high that it fills the gap between number of workers and number of retirees.
But the interest on the trust fund has to be paid by some sort of federal taxes, probably the individual FIT. (I'm assuming that we're going to run out of the ability to borrow from foreign countries one of these days.)
So, if you don't plan to pay federal income taxes, this really is good news. If you do think you're going to be paying FIT, then it doesn't sound so good.
The other was trying to clarify the fact that the $9.4 trillion of federal debt you quoted actually referred to the "general fund" only, not to the entire federal government:

Quote:

Yes, the Federal gov't in total has spent more money than it has collected in taxes. But the SS portion has collected more taxes than it has paid in benefits.
Re-reading these statements, they both seem true to me. Neither would come as any surprise to Social Security policymakers.


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