The United States is borrowing trillions of dollars to reduce the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Wednesday’s annual report from the Social Security program’s trustees reminds us that our debt problem could get much worse.
Social Security’s long-term fiscal problems have been chronicled for years. The program has been forecast to go broke in the mid-2030s. Without tax hikes, spending cuts or a mixture of the two, there won’t be enough money left to pay 100 percent of scheduled Social Security benefits when that happens.
The new report does not alter that prognosis. The main trust fund that pays old age pensions and death benefits to a person’s survivors is still expected to run out of cash reserves in 2034. And there is some good news, as declining rates of successful applications for disability insurance means the fund that pays for those benefits is now expected to go broke in 2065. That’s a 13-year increase from last year’s report.