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Social Security

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Bruce Krasting via Economic Policy Journal

The Social Security Trust Fund reported an August net deficit of $5.865 Billion. This is the largest monthly deficit in nineteen years. Base on recent years data it was not surprising the Fund ran a deficit in August. But the magnitude of the shortfall was a surprise to me. This deficit is now the seventh in the past twelve months. That pace has never been seen before. We deal with very big numbers these days. 100rds of billions and trillions are how we measure things. So a $6b monthly deficit for the Fund would appear to be a ho-hum. That is not correct. This is an important number. The Actuarial analysis of the Fund is misdirected. Their focus is based on the future value. It should be focused on the here and now. In the June annual report the Trustees concluded that the Fund would be broke in 2037. This conclusion is so far into the future that it is easy for everyone involved to say, “this is a next year problem, health care comes first”. Stephen Goss the Fund’s head honcho s

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Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise.

The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won’t be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next 2 years. That hasn’t happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.


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The Market Ticker

The CBO's annual Social Security Update is out, and its pretty ugly: This is pretty ugly; we were not supposed to have a negative income-to-outlay view on Social Security for another decade or so. Well, the recession fixed that. Tax receipts are in the toilet but outlays sure aren't. This is a major problem - everyone wants to point to the "zero hour" for Social Security when the "trust fund" goes negative, as is shown in this graph: This, unfortunately, is terribly misleading. The Social Security "Trust Fund" contains nothing other than IOUs. That is, it does not contain money, it contains "special" Treasury Bonds that form part of the "public debt." How much? According to Treasury, about $4.3 trillion dollars worth.

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MSN Money

Here's a frightening prediction: The public pension system's trust fund could go into the red in the next year, far sooner than expected. Will it get the next huge bailout? The debate over health care has captured everyone's attention, but it appears the next big government program that needs to be addressed will be Social Security. That's the focus of the July 30 article "The next great bailout: Social Security" by Allan Sloan, Fortune's senior editor at large. Given that so few people really understand the Ponzi nature of the current Social Security financing scheme -- created in 1983 by a commission chaired by none other than the world's greatest serial blower of bubbles, Alan Greenspan -- I decided to reprise Sloan's article. (The Social Security problem is especially important because it likely will put additional pressure on the dollar and on bonds, and exacerbate the funding crisis down the road.)