This year, the Social Security system—the payroll tax, which brings money in, and the pension program, which sends money out—will bring in about $180 billion more than it sends out. It will go on bringing in more than it sends out until 2028, at which point it will begin to draw on the $3.5 trillion surplus it will by then have accumulated. The surplus runs out in 2042, right around the time George W. Bush turns ninety-six. After that, even if nothing has changed, the system’s income will continue to cover seventy-three per cent of its outgo.[newyorker]I feel like people of my generation have been repeatedly taught to expect that there won't be a dime left in the social security system by the time we're old enough to retire. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn't? Now, though, I'm starting to get the sense that it's part of a vast right wing conspiracy to create a sizable portion of the population that is indifferent to the continued existence of the program.
But what do I know? I'm supposed to be in a four-year news hibernation cycle. (I still haven't gotten to the Seymour Hersch thing about the coming war against Iran)
(1) the whole essay is worth reading, too. It isn't very long and Hendrik Hertzberg (a) does a nice job of summarizing the non-crisis; (b) makes a moral case for social programs; and (c) is generally a MVP of the "talk of the town" section.