Diary

Did You Ever Notice the Asterisk on Your Social Security Statement?

Author Note:  This piece was originally posted July 30 on National Review. Drudge Report re-posted it and, as a result, it was shared over 29,000 times and received over 2,800 comments.  In case you missed it, here it is again. I look forward to seeing all my RedState friends this coming weekend at the Gathering where we can continue discussing this important issue. 

 

While engaging in the mundane task of gathering financial statements for a “secure retirement” meeting with my husband’s and my adviser, this Baby Boomer stumbled upon documented proof that our nation does not have the guts to confront one of its most serious economic problems. The realization came when I pulled from my files a document statement innocently titled, “Your Social Security Statement.”

At first glance, the statement did not appear menacing. I was told I could expect to receive a benefit of “about $2,136 a month” upon reaching age 70 — which certainly seems like good news. But immediately I thought of a parallel of President Obama’s infamous Obamacare promise: “If you like your Social Security, you can keep your Social Security.”  Then, as if on cue, I saw an asterisk with the following message:

my 2015 ss

Clearly, in 2009, the government’s prediction — that Social Security would have to be cut to 78 percent of benefits come 2041 — was overly optimistic.

Now, in 2015, they are projecting 2033, eight years earlier, with one percentage point less of my projected benefits. The projections have steadily worsened over the past few years, helped by a much weaker economy than the federal government expected. Does anyone really expect these numbers to get better? The skepticism I felt when I saw my initial monthly benefit was entirely justified. There are just too many Baby Boomers and too many financial promises with elected leaders too afraid to inflict the necessary pain of real reform. But the pain will be much, much greater when monthly Social Security benefits are rationed. Now is the time for Baby Boomers to force their elected leaders to confront this issue and take action. The planned benefit reduction should be a major talking point for every 2016 presidential candidate, but somehow it is not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoR-DvtEdVQ&feature=player_embedded

The Social Security trustees go on to warn that “if no changes are made to the program,” they project that “assets will be sufficient to allow for full payment of scheduled benefits through 2032” — hence the most recent warning on my Social Security statement.