EP 574 Can Congress Save Social Security?

The future solvency of Social Security hangs in the balance by decisions that lawmakers in Washington will have to make over the next decade.  While many of us might think that Social Security’s solvency is fungible–just move some pots around–that’s not how the system was set up.  It’s pay as you go using only funds being contributed by current workers and that which has accumulated in the Social Security Trust Fund.  Thanks to changes made 40 years ago on both the benefits and revenue side, the system has been in good shape for the last 40 years.  However, given the long-living baby boom generation and the smaller group of American workers, the trust fund is expected to be depleted by 2034 and reliance only on current contributions will require a 21 percent cut to those enrolled in the program.  R. Douglas Arnold, author of ‘Fixing Social Security: The Politics of Reform in a Polarized Age’ has a hard time imagining that a fix will not be found, thus avoiding the political wrath of 83 million recipients, but like many things in our nation’s capital it will be a compromise perhaps at the eleventh hour.  It’s an important conversation on today’s podcast.