As noted on my blog in this post, on August 27, 2010, Lynn Woolsey made the statement that
Social Security should not even be on the table in deficit-reduction talks because it has not contributed a dime to that deficit….
Really, Congresswoman? Her assertion wasn’t true then and right now the news is full of warnings about Social Security’s insolvency. First piece of bad news Social Security posted a larger deficit in 2010 than the experts had predicted:
The SSA trustees had estimated a $41 billion deficit (excluding interest income), but the final deficit came to $76 billion — almost twice what they had guessed. Just as troubling, their estimate for total SSA income in 2010 (which included both Social Security payroll taxes and interest paid by the Treasury on the Social Security Trust Funds) was $791 billion — a number that overshot the actual total income of $741 billion (tax receipts of $631 billion plus interest income of about $110 billion) by $50 billion.
So there is no question that Social Security was itself in deficit during 2010. And here is another article with the dour title, Social Security fund new seen to be empty by 2037. The article begins:
Sick and getting sicker, Social Security will run at a deficit this year and keep on running in the red until its trust funds are drained by about 2037, congressional budget experts said Wednesday in bleaker-than-previous estimates.
And it continues:
This year alone, Social Security will pay out $45 billion more in retirement, disability and survivors’ benefits than it collects in payroll taxes, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said. That figure nearly triples — to $130 billion — when the new one-year cut in payroll taxes is included.
Congress has promised to replenish any lost revenue from the tax cut, but that’s hardly good news, either, adding to the federal budget deficit. In another sobering estimate, the congressional office said government red ink this year will increase to $1.5 trillion, the most in U.S. history.
Please read both articles in full.
The emphasis above on “adding to the federal budget deficit” is mine. Yes indeed, there it is in black and white, Congresswoman. So stop denying the need to make changes to Social Security, Rep. Woolsey. Start being responsible and work for passage of reforms that will put Social Security on solid footing and will take it off the list of contributors to our federal deficit. Reforms have already been recommended by the debt commission appointed by President Obama and among those recommendations was “one that would gradually increase the full retirement age, from 67 to 69, over the next 65 years.” That is a sensible suggestion and Congress should pass legislation implementing it.