Monday, June 27, 2016

Altman: 2016 Trustees Report Confirms That Expanding Social Security Is Fully Affordable

I can’t say I agree with Nancy Altman’s read on the 2016 Social Security Trustees Report, but we need to know what everyone thinks.

The Social Security Board of Trustees has just released its annual report to Congress. It shows that Social Security has a large and growing surplus, and its future cost is fully affordable. Indeed, a greatly expanded Social Security is fully affordable.

According to the new report, Social Security is 100 percent funded for the next eighteen years. It is 95 percent funded for the next 25 years. It is 87 percent funded for the next fifty years. And 84 percent funded for the next three-quarters of a century.

The projected shortfall over the next three-quarters of a century amounts to just 0.95 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In contrast, military spending after the 9/11 terrorist attack increased 1.1 percent of GDP virtually overnight. Spending on public education nationwide went up 2.8 percent of GDP between 1950 and 1975, when the baby boom generation showed up as school children.

The fact is that, as the richest nation in the world at the richest point in our history, not only can we afford the current levels of Social Security protections, we can afford to greatly expand Social Security. Last year, Social Security cost just 5 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP.) At its most expensive, at the end of the 21st century, the cost is projected to be just 6.1 percent of GDP. That is considerably less, as a percentage of GDP, than Germany, France, Japan, Austria and most other industrialized countries spend on their counterpart programs today.

Click here to read the whole article.

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