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The previous thread about Social Security was getting long. However, since we all care about the issue so much, I thought that I would open this new thread under the topic of "Social Security Trustees Report."

I've pasted a summary from the Social Security Trustees Report below. It points out that the current payroll tax will insufficient to cover current benefits.

The summary touches on a few solutions.

1. Increase of the payroll tax from 6.2% to 7.05% would keep the system solvent for 75 years.

2. A 12% reduction of benefits.

Of course, Obama would ask very high earners to subsidize the system. I have no idea how effective this would be.

The annual cost of Social Security benefits represented 4.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007 and is projected to increase to 6.1 percent of GDP in 2035, and then decline to 5.8 percent of GDP by 2048 and remain at that level. The projected 75-year actuarial deficit in the combined Old-Age and Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Fund is 1.70 percent of taxable payroll ($4.3 trillion in present value terms), down from 1.95 percent projected in last year's report. This decrease is due primarily to changes in projection methods. Although the combined OASDI program passes our short-range test of financial adequacy, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund does not; in addition, OASDI continues to fail our long-range test of close actuarial balance by a wide margin. Projected OASDI tax income will begin to fall short of outlays in 2017, and will be sufficient to finance only 78 percent of scheduled annual benefits in 2041, after the combined OASDI Trust Fund is projected to be exhausted.

Social Security could be brought into actuarial balance over the next 75 years in various ways, including an immediate increase of 14 percent in payroll tax revenues (from 12.4 percent to 14.1 percent) or an immediate reduction in benefits of 12 percent or some combination of the two. Ensuring that the system is solvent on a sustainable basis beyond the next 75 years would require larger changes, because an aging population and increasing longevity cause the projected current-law OASDI cash-flow deficits to be substantially larger after the 75-year projection period than they are on average during the period.

The projected actuarial deficit in the OASDI Trust Fund over the infinite future is 3.2 percent of taxable payroll (1.1 percent of GDP), or $13.6 trillion in present value terms. The system could be brought into actuarial balance over this time horizon with an immediate increase in payroll tax revenues of 26 percent (from 12.4 percent to 15.6 percent) or an immediate reduction in benefits of 20 percent, or some combination of the two.
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