Every time I turn around, another article, news story, discussion or diatribe about Social Security pops up on the radar.
When a person is my age, and the prospect of Social Security is just around the corner (give or take six years), these articles, news stories, etc. take on new meaning.
And raise new fears.
If we read or listen to TV or surf the internet we all 'know' the Social Security system is a shambles, can't be repaired, and will be lucky to cover MY retirement, never mind that of my kids.
The recent 2012 Report from the Social Security Trustees brought another spate of scare stories.
In the report, the trustees projected that, largely because of changed economic conditions, Social Security would be able to pay full benefits only for 21 years, and 75 percent of the benefits after that assuming no changes were made.
The reaction to the report, and the media storm around it make one question the actual literacy of the press. Somehow, the news stories missed the parts of the report that refer to the shortfall (a shortfall that will exist ONLY if Congress does NOTHING to secure more funds) as "manageable." More than that, many of the news stories talked about Social Security running out of money in the forseeable future. Again, that's NOT what the report says. It says if NOTHING is done, the payouts will be reduced by one-quarter AFTER another two decades. I am not all that great at math, but even I know that three-quarters of a pay-out is not ZERO payout.
The Columbia Journalism Review has a very snarky 'review' of the press coverage.
As dysfunctional as our current congress is, I don't think the members (or their replacements in the next twenty years) are politically suicidal enough to allow Social Security to reduce payments by 25%, much less become bankrupt.