Social Security Insanity

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The Congressional Budget Office now predicts the Social Security fund will pay out more than it earns starting this year – as in it’s happening right now.

That’s just a shade off of last year’s forecast, which expected the fund to run a deficit starting in late 2016. And a far cry from the CBO data we used while making I.O.U.S.A. in 2007 and 2008.

CBO Social Security Projection

And as you can see, the fund is not just dipping its toes in deficit waters. The current forecast reveals a torrential drop from $20 billion surplus to $29 billion shortfall since we premiered the film on Aug., 22, 2008 – before we knew who the current president would be… and, more importantly, before Lehman Bros. crumbled.

Surely, some sort of unpredictable catastrophe precedes such a revision… something that wasn’t even on the national radar in 2009:

“The problem,” The New York Times helpfully suggests, “is that payments have risen more than expected during the downturn, because jobs disappeared and people applied for benefits sooner than they had planned. At the same time, the program’s revenue has fallen sharply, because there are fewer paychecks to tax.”

Really. Who could have seen that coming?

Addison Wiggin
for The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning