According to data from the Social Security Administration, Social Security hit a record high amount of beneficiaries in November of 2017. That number is 61,859,250. Now, Terrance P. Jeffery did a commentary on these new numbers and how they are affecting the program.
The number of Social Security beneficiaries hit a record 61,859,250 in November, according to data released by the Social Security Administration.
At the same time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with unemployment at the lowest rate since 2000 (4.1 percent), there were 126,827,000 full-time workers in the United States (including government workers). Yet that equaled only 2.05 full-time workers for each person receiving Social Security benefits.
Even when all 153,918,000 people who had jobs in November are considered (counting both full- and part-time workers), the ratio of workers to Social Security beneficiaries was about 2.49 to 1.
The record 61,859,250 Social Security beneficiaries in November, included 45,439,781 retired workers and their dependents; 5,992,862 survivors of deceased workers; and 10,426,607 disabled workers and their dependents.
Alright, so a few huge things to point here. The first is the rise since 1967. The number of people needing this benefits has drastically risen. In 1967 just over 20,000,000 people were receiving these benefits. Today that number is just over 60,000,000. Now, of course, that could be due to a few things. The first is population growth. In 1967 198.7 million Americans lived in the U.S, today that number is 324,459,463. The next is life expectancy. In 1967 the average American was living 70.56 years. In 2015 that number was 78.74. It is when you look deeper into social security that you see the huge issues with it. According to the SSA in 1965 the ratio of beneficiary to worker was 4.0. What this means is that for every 1 person on social security we had 4 workers supporting them. Today that number is at its best 2.49 and at its worst 2.05. As this trend continues we will continue to reach a point where it can no longer sustain itself, in fact, it already has.
In the past, when Social Security ran surpluses, the federal government loaned the surplus to itself so it could spend it immediately on other government programs.
In their 2017 report, the Social Security board of trustees puts it this way: “The Department of the Treasury invests trust fund reserves in interest-bearing securities issued by the U.S. Government.”
Without the “interest” the government pays itself back on the money it has already spent from previous Social Security surpluses, the Social Security program would not have enough money now to pay all the current benefits it owes.
“The 2016 excess of total income over cost for the year was $35 billion,” said the trustees’ report. But “total income” — as the report calls it — includes the interest the government pays itself.
“However, when interest income is excluded,” the report admitted, “Social Security’s cost is projected to exceed its non-interest income throughout the projection period, as it has since 2010. For 2016, cost for the year exceeded non-interest income by $53 billion. For 2017, total income for the program is projected to exceed cost for the year by $59 billion, and non-interest income is projected to be $27 billion less than program cost for the year.
They also concluded that by 2091 it will be trillions in debt.
The trustees’ report estimated that the Social Security program faces a $12.5 trillion shortfall over 75 years.
“Through the end of 2091, the combined funds have a present-value unfunded obligation of $12.5 trillion,” said the report.
Of course, their fix to this is to raise taxes on Americans and at the same time cut benefits for those same people. Basically, the government needs to tax you more to keep a program you are already taxed on a float. The fix to this is certainly not one that is immediate. People have paid into Social Security their whole lives and they deserve to see that money back. For the future of the program, however, it should be phased out. Americans deserve to keep the money they earn and not watch it squandered by the federal government.