A certain breed of aristocratic right winger (particularly the type that inherited wealth or got rich in the financial casinos) has obsessed about ending Social Security since the days of FDR. Apparently one of these specimens is now a close advisor to Pres. Obama. The crew's current strategy is to claim that Soc. Sec. is "in crisis" and needs to be "fixed." Apparently this isn't true at all. But how not true?
From a press release from Congressman Jerrold Nadler, via Atrios:
[T]he Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.5 trillion dollar surplus, and it will be able to pay 100 percent of benefits through 2037, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees. What’s more, Social Security has not contributed at all to the federal deficit.
The statement you receive in the mail from Social Security corroborates this, but makes it sound more dire:
In 2016 we will begin paying in more benefits than we collect in taxes. Without changes, by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted [based on intermediate assumptions from the Trustees] and there will be enough money to pay only about 76 cents for each dollar or scheduled benefits.
Pres. Obama's "Fiscal Commission," also known as the Catfood Commission because it is stacked with people who think you will do fine if you live on Science Diet after age 70, is talking about raising the retirement age or cutting benefits in the next five years to fix this. But there is no present "crisis" in Social Security. Lots of time to think about how to fund it at 100% after the year 2037. One idea might be closing the 700 military bases the US maintains around the world for no reason after the end of the cold war.