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For a definition of "viable" that would be labeled "fraudulent" if the government weren't running it...

How can it be fraudulent if it is funded through the paychecks of American taxpayers?

It isn't fraudulent because the government is running it and the government decrees that it isn't fraudulent.

It is fraudulent by any other standard because under existing law there is no possibility that it will live up to the promises it has already made and there is no party, or collection of parties, that is both plausibly able and legally obligated to make good on the shortfall.

Why do I say there's no possibility? Because the program's own administrators say there's no possibility. They currently envision - absent changes in the law giving them access to money they can't have under existing law, and/or reducing benefits - a cut in old-age and survivors' benefits equivalent to an across-the-board 23% cut, effective 2034. The disability fund is in rather better shape, with a 9% cut in benefits effective 2052.

By the standards applied to other pension systems not run by the federal government, a pension fund should strive to have assets with present value at least equal to the present value of its liabilities. (Note: the promise of future contributions to the fund from its sponsors or members is NOT an asset.) Social Security has already made commitments to the large majority of 30-year-old workers in the US, let alone those older than that, so it has obligations running decades into the future... but its assets are about equal to a mere three years of benefit payments. If it doesn't experience an annual return on investments in excess of 30%, that doesn't work... its investments are strictly US Treasury bonds, which have rarely if ever paid above 20%.

And it's continuing to make and increase promises at faster rate than it's acquiring income.

How can it be fraudulent if it has roughly a $3 Trillion surplus?

If it had a surplus it would not be fraudulent. It does not. The old-age and survivors' fund has a deficit of around $13T - that's the difference between the present value of assets and the present value of liabilities.

The same administrators run another collection of programs with a deficit of over $30T. The trust fund for Medicare Part A is currently expected to run dry in 2026, cutting payouts to not exceed current income - which will be an immediate 14% reduction and grow to a 22% reduction in 2043, before things turn up slightly; the current annual report stops at 75 years in the future with payouts being 20% down.

This Medicare Part A trust fund is there to guarantee payments for decades... it contains enough cash to pay benefits for not quite eight months.

The Social Security and Medicare trust-fund deficits are growing at a combined rate in the vicinity of $1T per year.
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