The Myth of Social Security’s Looming Bankruptcy

Americans are bombarded daily with dire news stories about the state of the Social Security entitlement program. Our politicians need to have their facts checked because the actual truth is much more encouraging, at a time when we could all use some good news.

In a recent article published in the Davis Enterprise, Representative Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena., California lays out the facts clearly. Social Security is the most successful entitlement program in American history, reliably paying out benefits to millions of senior citizens since 1935. It will continue to pay all eligible Americans their benefits through 2036 without fail. At that point, only 77% will be available for payout. That means our federal government has time to rework it to accommodate our growing elderly population.

On the White House website President Obama says 56 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, and for many of these Americans it is a key source of income. This includes programs for children, people with disabilities and survivors of deceased workers. The idea is to protect Americans if they lose the breadwinner in their family, or become disabled themselves, or are seniors who are retiring after a lifetime of hard work. He is committed to keeping current benefits from being reduced, and future generations from having theirs slashed.

Some Washington politicians are willing to play games with this program, suggesting its payouts be reduced, or the system privatized so that the money could be invested by individual recipients. After living through recent market fluctuations and with many American’s retirement accounts now reduced, this is irresponsible.

Our politicians need to reassure our seniors that Social Security isn’t bankrupt and clearly tell our Boomers that they have a right to expect their benefits. That is, if these elected officials will keep the original promise made to Americans by President Franklin D. Roosevelt back in 1935.

It is true that the surplus payroll taxes not being used for current benefits are being loaned to the federal government. The Treasury will soon need to pay back these special-issue, interest-paying Treasury bonds. This will put pressure on the budget, but not until the year 2037. AARP is doing a lot to protect Social Security, and you can read more about their ideas and find a wealth of helpful and accurate information on their website,

Anything else we are told is inaccurate, and our elected officials need to stop spreading misinformation and focus on making needed changes to Social Security. Future workers need to be confident they will retire with their dignity intact, with faith that their children and grandchildren can do the same.

We can count on it. Americans will receive their Social Security benefits. The program is not bankrupt nor broke.

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