Retirement Weekly: Straight talk about Social Security

by | Feb 11, 2023 | Stock Market

Thanks to President Biden’s State of the Union speech, the debate over the future of Social Security has made it into the front-page headlines. Read: ‘Let’s stand up for seniors’: Biden invites Republicans to promise that Social Security cuts are off the table

Perhaps now we can, once and for all, dispense with the urban myths about Social Security that up until now have colored the debate. Regardless of how we think Social Security’s challenges should be met, it’s essential for this debate to be based on cold, hard facts. That unfortunately is not the case currently. Where’s the ‘crisis’? To begin with, take the widely-repeated assertion that Social Security is facing a “crisis.” This simply is not accurate, at least according to the standard dictionary definition of a crisis as “a sudden change” or a “turning point.” We’ve known for decades that, as the baby boom generation retires, Social Security’s finances would need to be augmented. Read: 12 things you need to know about Social Security’s future, explained by the program’s chief number-cruncher Consider what was known as long ago as 1983, which is when the last major legislative changes were made to shore up Social Security’s finances. Actuaries at the Social Security Administration (SSA) at that time correctly projected that, in light of those changes, the Social Security trust fund would be able to pay out all benefits until the 2030 to 2050 period. Their projections have proved remarkably accurate, as the SSA currently projects that the trust fund will be unable to pay out 100% of benefits starting in 2034. Read: Yes, Republicans want changes to Social Security and Medicare entitlements—because some changes are nee …

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