Report: Entitlement Outlook Has Improved, But We're Still Screwed

Posted: Jun 26, 2013 9:31 PM
Report: Entitlement Outlook Has Improved, But We're Still Screwed
The Medicare and Social Security Board of Trustees released their report on the fiscal outlook of both the programs, and the news is both encouraging and depressing: the slowing cost of health care that can be attributed to both the recession and health care reforms over the last ten years has made it a bit easier to absorb the coming tidal wave of entitlement spending, but we've put off the day of reckoning by only a few years.

Despite incredibly optimistic developments, we're still screwed.

The Pete Peterson Foundation compiled commentary and charts of the trustees' reports, and you might be forgiven for thinking that there hasn't been much change at all. It still looks like we'll be overwhelmed with red ink. And while the improving life expectency for Americans is encouraging, it also means that Social Security will be expected to provide even more money over more years for retirees.

Hat tip goes to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Since 2010, Social Security has been spending more each year than it collects in taxes. In 2012, the program added $160 billion to the federal deficit. This cash-flow deficit is projected to continue through the decade, and then accelerate in the following decades.

Within three years, the program will not be able to pay full disability benefits as scheduled under current law. If legislative action is not taken, disability benefits would have to be cut by 20 percent after 2016.

Within twenty years, the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted. After that point in 2033, Social Security benefits would have to be cut by 23 percent unless policymakers take action.

Here are the charts that reflect a more optimistic entitlement scenario: