Did the government make a Social Security goof?
Academics warn that agency officials are using outdated calculations and have severely overestimated the money available for retirees.
The fiscal cliff has been averted for the moment, and Congress is continuing its latest game of financial chicken with a new target in sight: the upcoming debt ceiling. But two academics say all this political brawling is taking attention away from another crisis looming on the nation's horizon: Social Security.
Samir Soneji is a demographer and professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and Gary King is a professor of government at Harvard. On Sunday, the two boiled down their recent findings in an opinion piece for the New York Times.
According to King and Soneji, the Social Security Administration has grossly underestimated the money it needs for retiring Americans "to the tune of $800 billion by 2031, more than the current annual defense budget."
And if nothing is done, they say, the Social Security trust fund will run out two years ahead of current government predictions.
The professors say two major issues have led to these serious miscalculations.
The government’s forecasting methods for Social Security have barely changed since the program’s creation during the Great Depression -- "even as a revolution in big data and statistics has transformed everything from baseball to retailing."
And that outdated mode of forecasting, the professors note, has failed to take into account crucial factors about longevity -- especially the fact that Americans are living longer and healthier lives. Better treatment of cardiovascular diseases and a dramatic decline in smoking, they say, "are adding years of life that the government hasn’t accounted for."
The professors believe the nation faces some stark choices if Social Security is to be saved. Among the options they suggest are raising the retirement age to as high as 69 or 70, increasing payroll taxes, limiting annual cost-of-living adjustments and reducing benefits.
They also point to new research that suggests that retirement, while popular, may in itself reduce a person’s life span "by breaking lifelong routines and disrupting deep social connections." And with that research in mind, they wonder if retirement should be optional.
Given modern demographics and statistical analysis, professors Soneji and King think now is a great time to open a public debate about Social Security’s future. The constant political bickering in Congress may make this suggestion seem odd, they say -- but "the longer we ignore the problem," they warn, "the more disruptive any change will need to be to keep Social Security alive."
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How can you expect any calculations coming out of WASHINGTON to be correct?
THERE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF BOZOS, HALF OF THEM WOULD NOT LAST IN THE REAL JOB MARKET THAT THE ONES THAT PAY FOR THESE BOZOS WORK IN.
WE NEED BUSINESS MINDED PEOPLE NOT LAWYERS RUNNING THIS COUNTRY.
HAS ANY LAWYER REALLY HELPED YOU?
lets increase the amount of take in revenue above the $110100 dollars cap limit......since they just increased the tax break to people under $400,000 ...otherwords workers now are only taxed on money they make up to $110,100 dollars and no more...
THEN HAVE THE GOVERNMENT PUT IN 1 CENT ON EVERY DOLLAR TAKEN IN FOR GAS TAXES INTO A S.S. TRUST FUND ....TO BE USED FOR SS ONLY....
THIS will do it....
try giving it to retirees instead of disabilitie payments to people that can work. and why is if a man
dies or killed his children get ssi payments till 18 shouldn't that be welfare
Another Dirty Little Secret - The higher the retirement age, the more would be SS recipients will end up on Disability . This includes both physical labor as well as mental labor jobs. You can shift people from one program to the other - but it all costs. From what I understand, a person getting disability would receive more in benefits than someone on standard social security.
Plus put them all on Obamacare and I bet they can fix this also..........
I believe that the two professors are mis-informed. There is no SS Trust Fund! That is why Obama keep telling old people that he cannot pay them when he is fighting congress for more money. As fast as the money comes in from working people, it goes out to old people and when these evil politicians created SS people were only living to between 50 and 55 years of age. That is why they set SS at 62 - they never intended to pay people their retirement. But God has played as joke on these fools - we are living until 80 and now they are forced to pay SS.
Also they need to mean-test the benefits. If you have over 1M dollars in asset, you should not receive SS and stop given money to people who do not pay into the system .
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