More on Positive Cash Flow of Social Security

Glenn Kessler, writer of the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker column, took a stab today at correcting some common misconceptions about Social Security. For the most part he did a good job.

He appropriately debunked the common and ignorant slander of the program as a “Ponzi scheme.” He explained why President George W. Bush‘s privatization scheme wouldn’t have worked. He pointed out that Social Security is not only a retirement plan, but also a disability and life insurance program. He reported, accurately, that the Treasury bonds owned by the program’s trust fund are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government — they’re not merely “IOUs,” as some would have it.

But Kessler committed a few bloomers too. These need to be corrected, so let’s have at it.

Most glaringly, Kessler asserted that Social Security is suffering a “cash flow” problem and has started to tap into its trust funds. This is essentially incorrect, or at least highly misleading. There are two Social Security trust funds — one for its disability program, and a second, huge one, for its retirement program. They’re typically treated as one.

The combined trust fund has not been “tapped into.” It’s still in surplus. Since 2010, in fact, it’s grown by $192 billion, and it’s projected by the program’s trustees to remain in surplus — not being tapped into — through 2020.


Much more at this link!,0,3457286.story#ixzz2pvt6BNBt