Perspectives from the President’s Commission on Social Security Reform

TitlePerspectives from the President’s Commission on Social Security Reform
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsCogan, JF, Mitchell, OS
JournalJournal of Economic Perspectives
Start Page149
KeywordsOlder Adults, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction, Social Security, Taxes

Social Security faces a severe financial problem. In about 15 years, the program will begin to experience permanent annual cash deficits, when annual benefit payments will exceed the amount collected in payroll tax revenues. By 2041, according to the Social Security Trustees 2002 Report, the Social Security trust fund is projected to be insolvent, meaning that the program will be legally unable to pay scheduled benefits. One way of expressing the financial shortfall is to compute the present value of the difference between system outlays and revenues over a 75-year horizon, which is currently equal to a permanent and immediate tax rate increase of 1.86 percent of payroll, or equivalent to $3.2 trillion in present value. If the policy of pay-as-you-go financing is continued for the next 25 years, a 50 percent payroll tax increase will be required at that time to pay scheduled benefits.

Citation Key8631