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Social Security: It's Worse Than You Think

By Gary King and Samir S. Soneji | The New York Times

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CONGRESS and President Obama have pushed through a relatively modest stopgap measure to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” but over the coming years, the United States will confront another huge cliff: Social Security.

In the first presidential debate, Mr. Obama described Social Security as “structurally sound,” and Mitt Romney said that “neither the president nor I are proposing any changes” to the program. It was a rare issue on which both men agreed — and both were utterly wrong.

For the first time in more than a quarter-century, Social Security ran a deficit in 2010: It spent $49 billion dollars more in benefits than it received in revenues, and drew from its trust funds to cover the shortfall. Those funds — a $2.7 trillion buffer built in anticipation of retiring baby boomers — will be exhausted by 2033, the government currently projects.

Those facts are widely known. What’s not is that the Social Security Administration underestimates how long Americans will live and how much the trust funds will need to pay out — to the tune of $800 billion by 2031, more than the current annual defense budget — and that the trust funds will run out, if nothing is done, two years earlier than the government has predicted.

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Who is getting your money's worth? Who is is keeping your money?

Who keeps your money safe and secure? For a long, long time?

"Individuals fully invested in the Dow Average ... have lost 11.2% since its all time high in 2008. [Pitiful loss.] On the other hand, the [ US ] government has lost 100% of [Federal Insurance Contrbution Act withholding in an alleged Social Security Trust Fund fantasy ] “lock-box.” Who is getting slaughtered?

Who lost $2.6 trillion accepting IOUs from spendthrift Congressman?

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

Why can I not opt out on

Why can I not opt out on paying ss if I am not going to reap the benefits when I retire? I would rather put that in some sort of bond or fund. Can someone start a petition at the White House for this?

Too bad Obama saw fit to

Too bad Obama saw fit to steal $736 billion from Medicare.Some of that money could have been used for Social Security.

Bob Marshall

The only reason Social Security is looking insolvent, as Ron

...as Ron Paul says, is because congress has been raiding it. Stop raiding it and apply the tax to all level of income equally (lowering the rate because until income equal expenditures) and the problem is fixed.

Release the Sandy Hook video.

America is 47th in lifespan

America is 47th in lifespan in the world, and getting worse.

Five hundred-thousand hospital casualties reported the the CDC

How does that compare to the alleged benefits of pharmaceuticals on heart disease?

Take a beta blocker die of stroke or brain bleed. Check out the side effects. See he died of brain disease. Bottom line, fewer dissatisfied customers

The solution: Replace actuarial with social scientists with an agenda of population control working with hospitals to administer "free" health care.

So the scam continues...

Free includes debt-free!

What color is the sky...

What color is the sky on the birth planet of the author?

"...it was a rare issue on which both men agreed."

They agree on damned near everything.


can you name three things they disagree on?

can anyone name three things they disagree on?

Ryan Questioning Greenspan if Social Security is Sustainable

Relevant exchange between Paul Ryan and former fed chairman Alan Greenspan on one of his last visits to Capitol Hill for his semi-annual testimony before Congress.

PAUL RYAN: “Do you believe that personal retirement accounts can help us achieve solvency for the system and make those future retiree benefits more secure?”

ALAN GREENSPAN: “Well, I wouldn’t say that the pay-as-you-go benefits are insecure, in the sense that there’s nothing to prevent the federal government from creating as much money as it wants and paying it to somebody. The question is, how do you set up a system which assures that the real assets are created which those benefits are employed to purchase.”

Ed Rombach

It Will Payout for A Short While...

...maybe the next 5 to 10 years. After that the odds will increase drastically that the payouts will decline in value and that the system will go bankrupt. Actually, the system is already bankrupt and they are writing checks with money created out of thin air.

Anyone retiring a decade or more in the future better NOT count on Social Security as part of their budget.

What ignorance and from a Ron Paul group??????????

First there is no stinking trust fund. Government treasuries are not assets. One branch of the government owing another is not a trust fund. I also can't believe all the non sequitor babble about this ponzi scheme. What happens to all ponzi schemes?????????????????

Mike Benoit

SteveMT's picture

The Ponzi scheme of SS is even worse than a Ponzi scheme.

Charles Ponzi had to entice participation into his fraud. People could just say no. With Social Security, this is a forced Ponzi scheme. We don't have a choice, and cannot opt out.

You are right. Fiat leveraging more fiat is still just fiat.

Oak Island Money-Pit.

Oak Island Money-Pit 7 minutes. Searching for buried treasure on Oak Island Nova Scotia.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

Social insecurity is an enomous, terrible pit.

Social Security is a misnomer. It is not secure. Many argue it is theft. Poor working folk to pay for everyone in line for Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) payments. Payments made by poor working folk immediately go to other people as some legal entitlement.

Social Security is a travesty. Be that as it may... War is a far larger, more horrific money-pit. More costly to those poor folk contributing. Even more horrific to those on the receiving end of the destructive wrath. Money-pit action is not a solution.

In The Know : Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole... 2 minutes.

Congressman Flake on "The Money Hole" Fox News Documentary 3 minutes.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

SteveMT's picture

"Social Security is a travesty." That is 100% correct.

Why? The Social Security Liability is nearly equal to the national debt, and not a word is uttered by the government. Anything that the government is NOT talking about IS important, IMO.

National Debt: $16.4T
SS Liability: $16.1T

Here is Senator Rand Paul, sporting his new Red-Ink SS Chart.

Here is Senator Rand Paul, sporting his new Red-Ink Social Security Chart, 2011.

Rand Paul's chart shows ink ink filling a $2.6 trillion Social Security trust fund hole. Rand Paul is the senator standing to the right of the large chart.

More red ink coming. Currently on back order, due to fiscal cliff Christmas shopping.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

if the govt actually used the

if the govt actually used the correct measure of inflation, instead of the modified CPI, SS would show to be a colossal failure

Social (in)secutiry is a colossal failure.

The folks receiving are spending money being contributed by poor working folk. The money those receiving contributed was spent as soon as they paid their Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA). Spent years ago.

Inflation makes it worse... For all but the rapscallions printing the paper promises... "legal tender."

War is even more horrific disaster. More costly to those contributing. More horrific to those on the receiving end.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul


2033 or 2031 is much longer than I expect SS to last. It's actually much longer than I expect the economy as a whole to last. They shouldn't tax more income for it. It's wrong to force people to save for a retirement in a fiat currency that won't hold water. By the time you are old enough to get your piece plus interest IF it's still there by then..........those dollars won't be enough to pay your bills, which is exactly why our govt keeps inflating the dollar.....so it'll be easier to pay these bills.


How simple a solution is THAT???


"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

Source? We gave away around


We gave away around 30 billion IIRC.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

I'm surprised to see something like this

come out of the New York Times.

i'm not...

they have to admit there is a problem. ss is already going to cause huge budget strains immediately.

they grossly ignore the real problem. as always. the problem is hitting them today. wonder what these folks will be doing for jobs in 10 years when they've proven to be incompetient.

The 2033 problems (now pushed

The 2033 problems (now pushed to 2037) are exaggerrated. Here is why:

Social Security pays out what you paid in, plus, of course, interest.

The calculations being made by the CBO and "experts" is assuming that that will not be enough. That the government will have to kick in extra to boost social security, because costs will go up so much, that people will not be able to live on their own contributions alone.

This is mostly because the assumption is being made that interest rates will stay very low, while inflation eventually returns to 3-5%. Of course, very many very smart people have decided that this is the case, and being completely serious, one should heed what they say.

But in any case, Social Security legally cannot pay out more than it has in reserves. So it is really solvent for all time.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a


reserves? what reserves?

the money they collected and put into trust funds was spent.

unless you know a way to spend money twice, you have problems actually starting last year. not 2037.

It wasn't like to was just

It wasn't like to was just spent without anything returned. It was borrowed. The Social Security trust fund is filled with savings bonds, treasury bonds, etc. Defaulting on these is like defaulting on US debt...it would have terrible consequences.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Default would protect future generations.

Don't trust the government, they are here to help themselves only.

Especially don't trust them with a credit limit. Trust them with truly voluntary donations only.

Free includes debt-free!

Social Security solvant

Social Security is currently solvant for 25 years, but it would be very easy to extend it for 100 years (or more) without causing starvation, evictions, foreclosures, mass poverty, and hurting people.

Just eliminate the 110,000 payroll cap, which makes no sense to begin with. Only poor people (those making 100K or less) actually pay into the program, but then everybody including the rich (who don't even need it) get the benefit. It is totally a regressive model.

Rich people like Dick Cheney get not only Social Security for free (which they didn't really have to pay into since most of their income is way, way over 110K), but they also get a Taxpayer-Funded Pension as well. These are the people who are abusing the whole system, not the poor people.

So if you want to cut spending, do what Ron Paul himself suggests (and not what the right-wingers and Wall-Streeters want), and:

1) cut our multi-Trillion-Dollar waste of money spent on Wars, Occupations, Torture, Drones, Military Bases, and Foreign hand-outs, and
2) cut our enormous Taxpayer-Funded Trillion dollar Corporate hands-outs to Banks, Wall-Street, etc.

But don't blame your grandma. She isn't the problem.

It still involves theft. That is not acceptable.


Free includes debt-free!

SteveMT's picture

For a number of reasons, this would not work.

The case against raising the Social Security tax max
Lifting the Payroll Tax Cap Will Only Increase Spending
Tax to the Max?

Grandma is part of the problem.

The "don't blame Grandma" syndrome is what causes the continual rape of my generations' wages. The AARP is made up of hundreds of thousands of grandmas and their husbands and holds influence over millions more and they all vote.

I agree the elderly on Social Security cannot shoulder all of the blame, since their parents and grandparents were conned into going along with it in the first place and they have been assured all their lives that SS will take care of them, so, they haven't bothered to get private retirement insurance or save as much as they would have in the absence of SS.

However, we cannot absolve Granny and Papa from having a knee-jerk reaction every time the old person's lobby demagogues the SS and Mediscare issue. Old people are capable of critically thinking just like everyone else and a little selflessness on their part would go a long way toward phasing out Social Security and Medicare over time so, future generations won't have to suffer massive transfers of wealth to much wealthier elderly people the way the Gen X and Millennials are condemned to do.