Will Social Security Go Bankrupt?

Warren Gibson By Warren C. Gibson – Re-Blogged From AIER

Just when one thinks everybody has gotten the message about the big problems facing Social Security, along comes John Tamny with a piece entitled “Let’s End the Myth About Social Security’s Looming Bankruptcy.” Really? Let’s go over the basics once again.

To his credit, he starts with a denunciation of Social Security. It was, he says, “always a terrible idea for countless reasons.” Yes! It was a terrible idea because it treats us all as dummies, unable or unwilling to provide for our own retirement. Because it tells us we have an “account” with the System, thereby fostering the illusion that our savings have been husbanded in a safe place where they will be available to us upon retirement. Because it provides returns that lag behind what prudent private investments return. Because even miniscule reforms, like tweaking the index used to calculate annual inflation increases, raise howls of protest from the likes of AARP.

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Social Security Recipients May be in for a Rude Awakening Later this Year

There’s a larger problem: aligning retiree spending with Social Security checks

Social Security beneficiaries might not receive much of a cost-of-living adjustment next year — and some say recipients might not get anything at all.

COLA is linked to the consumer-price index, which has suffered lately because of low oil prices. Based on the CPI data between January and April of this year, COLA for next year would be zero, according to Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. There are still five months until the administration announces the COLA for 2021, which occurs in October.

Social Security benefits aren’t linked to retiree spending — and that’s a problem.

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Social Security Soon Will Slide Into Insolvency

By Robert Weisman – Re-Blogged From The Boston Globe

Some time next year, as the ranks of retirees swell, the Social Security system in the United States will pass an ominous tipping point and start the slide into insolvency.

For the first time in nearly four decades, the government program that provides retirement checks to older Americans will pay out more in benefits in 2020 than it takes in. That will force the program to dip into a rainy day fund that will be depleted in about 15 years.

And if the political dysfunction in Washington continues and lawmakers don’t fix the system, benefit cuts are in store for current and future retirees, most of whom haven’t socked away enough money in their personal retirement accounts.

Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, wants to expand Social Security, even as the program will pass an omnious tipping point.
Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, wants to expand Social Security, even as the program will pass an omnious tipping point.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images/File)

How US Government Debt May Impact Social Security

By Peter Reagan -Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Fiscal year 2018 wasn’t a good one for U.S. government net-worth. While that may hardly be surprising, it’s possible we’re reaching a “tipping point.”

From an official report released by the U.S. Treasury, Sovereign Man pulled out a few key highlights:

  • In fiscal year 2018, the government’s total net loss was $1.16 TRILLION.
  • … they spent over $4.5 trillion.
  • … nearly HALF went to Social Security and Medicare.
  • … spent a record $523 billion just on interest payments on the national debt!

 

How US Government Debt May Impact Social Security
(Pixelrobot/Dreamstime)

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Pyramids Of Crisis

By John Mauldin – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

In an increasingly divided world, we all share one great desire: self-preservation. Not just humans, either. The survival instinct exists in almost every living thing. Humans simply have greater ability to do something about it.

In fact, we have been doing something about it for many thousands of years. An inverted pyramid of geniuses and giants, modern medicine, nutrition, sanitation, and assorted other innovations has extended our lifespans and helped more of us live to ripe old ages. That’s wonderful… but it’s also a problem many of us still don’t fully understand.

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Public Pensions Could Become Retirement Crisis for Everyone

By Peter Reagan – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

It’s become fairly common knowledge that public pensions are on the verge of either radical overhaul or extinction.

Worldwide, pensions are set to reach a shortfall of $400 trillion. This is a larger amount than 20 of the world’s largest economies, according to Sovereign Man.

It was even reported that Congress is planning for pension fund failure in the U.S. Not to mention, Philadelphia has considered tapping public utility payments to cover their shortfall.

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The Big Pension Grab

It has been quite some time since we last collaborated on an article, opting instead to chase other pursuits and let some of the hysteria going on in the world fade into some type of steady state. It hasn’t happened, but there are pressing matters that need attention regardless. The circus going on all around us makes for great theater and distraction – and that is its intent.

The topic at hand is the failing pension and retirement system. Americans are notorious for spending well in excess of what they make, saving nothing in the process. The only way most save are the deductions from their paychecks for a 401k or IRA. Or perhaps they contribute to an IRA at tax time, when they realize doing so will reduce their tax liability.

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Trustees Report: Medicare to Go Broke 3 Years Sooner

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected, and Social Security’s financial problems can’t be ignored either, the government said Tuesday in a sobering checkup on programs vital to the middle class.

The report from program trustees says Medicare will become insolvent in 2026 — three years earlier than previously forecast. Its giant trust fund for inpatient care won’t be able to fully cover projected medical bills starting at that point.

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Are Intragovernmental Holdings Real Debt?

By Scott Anderson – Re-Blogged From Seeking Alpha

[This article orignally was written over 5 years ago. I’ve update the numbers to today. -Bob]

As everyone who is paying attention knows, the amount of US debt outstanding is fast approaching $20.5Trillion. But whom do we owe it to? Most of the debt, about $14.8T of it, represents debt held by the public. This portion of the debt is easy to comprehend. It could be bonds held by investors, savings bonds given to children, bonds purchased by the Chinese government, or even bonds purchased by our good buddies at the Federal Reserve. The remaining balance of $5.7T, known as “Intragovernmental Holdings,” is what I would like to discuss today.

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US Public Debt Surges By $175 Billion In One Day

By SRSrocco – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

After the U.S. Government passed the new budget and debt increase, with the President’s signature and blessing, happy days are here again.  Or are they?  As long as the U.S. Government can add debt, then the Global Financial and Economic Ponzi Scheme can continue a bit longer.  However, the days of adding one Dollar of debt to increase the GDP by two-three Dollars are gone forever.  Now, we are adding three-four Dollars of debt to create an additional Dollar in GDP.  This monetary hocus-pocus isn’t sustainable.

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Trump’s Tax Cuts: The Good, The Bad, and the Inflationary

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From Money Metals Exchange

At last, tax reform is happening! Last week, President Donald Trump celebrated the passage of the most important legislation so far of his presidency.

The final bill falls far short of the “file on a postcard” promise of Trump’s campaign. It even falls short of the bill trotted out by Congressional Republicans just a few weeks ago. It is, nevertheless, the most significant tax overhaul in more than a decade.

Corporations and most individual taxpayers will see lower overall rates. That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, there is also some not so good news investors need to be aware of.

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Out Of Money By December 12th – Social Security Partial Inflation Indexing (Part 2)

By Daniel Amerman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Most advice on long-term planning for retirement and Social Security benefits is based on the assumption that Social Security will fully keep up with inflation. As we are establishing in this series of analyses, the full inflation indexing of Social Security is a myth and there are major implications for standard of living in retirement as well as the associated decisions with regard to both Social Security and investment planning.

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Social Security Inflation Lag Calendar – Partial Indexing

By Daniel Amerman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

There is a lot of advice out there about Social Security – most of which is based on Social Security being fully inflation indexed.

However, as we will establish in this first in a series of analyses, Social Security is only partially inflation indexed. As a matter of design it does not fully keep up with inflation.

Sound like an obscure difference?

“Partial inflation indexing” is little understood by the general public, but it could transform your standard of living – along with the quality of life of millions of others – in the years and decades to come. Indeed, partial inflation indexing can mean effectively having only 11 months of benefit purchasing power- or even 8 months –  to cover 12 months of expenses each year.

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Three Myths About Fixing Social Security

By Brenton Smith – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Social Security is the largest, and arguably most important, program in the federal government. It is a life-line for millions. For the rest of us the program is a set of never-ending, polarizing arguments.

The contentiousness is caused in large part by the number and conflicting nature of the urban legends surrounding the system. Everyone has a fact that is someone else’s myth.

These convictions about the program shape who voters elect, and seriously limit what candidates are willing to say to the electorate. These beliefs have so penetrated the public conscience that actual policy makers are left herding unicorns.

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Higher Interest Rates May Force Higher Inflation Rates

By Daniel Amerman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

1) Financial analysis of the three way relationship between interest rates, inflation and the U.S. national debt.

2) Higher interest rates causing higher interest payments on the $20 trillion national debt would ordinarily cause soaring deficits over time.

3) Detailed analysis of the “loophole”, which is that if inflation even moderately increases – then interest rates can rise without exploding the real debt.

4) This simultaneous increase in interest rates and inflation would have a major impact on all markets, as well as long term retirement planning.

5) The logical response to rising interest rates may be to sharpen one’s focus on how to better deal with higher rates of inflation over the long term.

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Economy Contracting But Expect Higher Stock Prices

By Chris Vermeulen – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The United States is the world’s largest and most diversified economy! It is currently suffering through a protracted period of slow growth which has held down job creation and labor market participation.  The Pew Research Center reported, in late 2015, that a mere 19% of Americans trust the government either always or most of the time.

The FED must print more money in order to keep the party going forward.

The bottom line is that this current bull market has been driven mostly by corporations which are buying back their shares, over the years. Individual investors have increasingly been moving out of equity mutual funds and into equity ETF’s.

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$1 Billion in Social Security Benefits Paid to Individuals Without a SSN

Re-Blogged From Minuteman News

How does this kind of thing happen?   The Feds are so hit or miss when it comes to identification/proof requirements.   You can’t buy a pack of Sudafed now without showing a driver’s license.   And, heaven forbid you try to buy a gun (a guaranteed second amendment right) without handing over your right arm.   But, you want to collect money from the government – no proof of SSN needed.

$1 BILLION in tax dollars because these jokers can’t or won’t do their jobs.

The Washington Free Beacon reports – The Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number (SSN), according to a new audit.

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Phasing Out Social Security

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Social Security is in trouble. Money going out should exceed money coming in within three years. Of course, the current income on the Treasuries in the Trust Fund are counted as real, even though those Treasuries are little more than IOUs from Uncle Sam’s left pocket into his right pocket. In real world terms, the Trust Fund already is in Deficit.

Even with the rosy Treasury assumption, the Trust Fund balance should be zeroed out within 15-20 years, depending on whose projections you use.

Image result for Social Security Deficit

Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University calculates that the actuarial deficit is around $100 Trillion, so anyone who says that we can tinker here and adjust there to save Social Security is just not living in the real world.

Social Security is dying. Social Security will end. The only question is whether it ends in a collapse – causing tens of millions of retirees to become destitute overnight – or whether Social Security is phased out, allowing current retires to get all they expect.

I suggest a phase out – a very long phase out.

  1. Today, end filing for early retirement for Social Security benefits. Seniors who already are receiving early benefits may continue, but no further applications will be accepted or processed. Transfer all non-retirement portions into one of the Welfare programs.
  2. For all Americans currently over 60 years of age, they may file and receive full Social Security benefits when they reach the current full retirement age.
  3. For all Americans currently under 60 years old, their full retirement age will be raised by one month for every two months until they reach 60. For example, a 50 year old has 120 months before he reaches 60, so his retirement age will be 60 months later than the current full retirement age.

    Image result for roth ira

  4. Americans under 60 may choose to opt out of Social Security. By opting out, they forfeit any accrued Social Security benefits. They will be allowed to deposit their FICA deduction tax free into a Roth IRA – that’s double Tax Free. The employer match, and self-employment tax, will continue to go into the Social Security Trust Fund. (This will cause large deficits near term but large surpluses down the road.)
  5. At some point, every American will be off Social Security, either by dying or by opting out. Any money remaining in the Trust Fund will go into the General Revenue Fund.
  6. Employer match after that point either:
    1. May be ended
    2. May go into the General Fund
    3. May by added to the employee’s Roth IRA

Image result for phase out

This phase out easily could take 60 years to complete. It will not be painless as the younger an American is, the less he will receive in benefits. But, it will put the burden where it can be handled most easily – with younger workers who have more time to plan. And, it sets up a system which still requires putting money aside for retirement, but that money is owned and controlled by each individual American worker.

It should be noted that Medicare is under the same pressures, also with a calculated actuarial deficit around $100 Trillion. A similar phase out for Medicare also makes sense.

 

The Preservation of Perks, Privileges, and Power: The PPPP

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From Deviant Investor

The picture is clear: The Powers-That-Be in Wall Street and Washington, the “Deep State,” military contractors, Big Pharma, Big Ag, The Federal Reserve, Mainstream Media, the DNC and RNC and others want to maintain the transfer game…because the following will continue:

  1. The transfer of wealth to the political and financial elite
  2. Payoffs to the President, Congress, and lobbyists
  3. Military adventures – very costly adventures – must be maintained to feed the massive military-industrial-security complex
  4. Ever increasing debt
  5. Power and influence over institutions and other countries

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Two Unexpected Reasons to Phase Out Social Security

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

There are numerous valid arguments for phasing out the Social Security System.

These include the obvious, such as, since Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, meaning that it depends on revenue from current workers to pay for current retirees, it is a Ponzi Scheme which eventually must fail.

I’d like to talk today about a couple of arguments that may surprise you: 1. Social Security, by it’s very design, is racially discriminatory, and 2. Social Security laws trying to foreclose “double-dipping” are keeping American children from getting the best possible education.

Racially discriminatory? A study from the Centers for Disease Control shows that there is a huge gap between life expectancies for black versus white Americans – age 75 for blacks versus 80 for whites (79 overall).

cdc life expectancy

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A Dangerous Moment For Social Security

By Justin Spittler – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Social Security funds are drying up…will there be any money left when you retire?

Social Security is America’s largest federal program. In 2015, it paid out $870 billion to more than 59 million Americans.

Most Americans see Social Security as a retirement savings program. During your working life, you pay 6.2% of every paycheck to Social Security. In return, the government sends you a check every month after you retire.

However, unlike a retirement plan like a 401(k), the money you pay into Social Security doesn’t land in your own personal account. Instead, it goes into one big pot called the “Social Security Trust Fund.”

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A Government Ponzi Scheme Starts To Crack

By Nick Giambruno – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Government employees get to do a lot of things that would land an ordinary citizen in prison.

For example, it’s legal for them to threaten and commit offensive, rather than defensive, violence. They can take property from others without their consent. They spy on anyone’s email and bank accounts whenever they please. They go into trillions of dollars in debt and then stick the unborn with the bill. They counterfeit the currency. They lie with misleading statistics and use accounting wizardry no business could get away. And this just scratches the surface…

The U.S. government also gets to run a special type of Ponzi scheme.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a Ponzi scheme is:

[A]n investment swindle in which some early investors are paid off with money put up by later ones in order to encourage more and bigger risks.

In the private sector, people who run Ponzi schemes are rightly punished for their fraud. But when the government runs a Ponzi scheme, something very different happens.

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Tea Party Drinking Too Much Decaf

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

On December 16th, 1773 the Sons of Liberty in Boston, in protest of the Tea Act, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company, in a political protest referred to as the Boston Tea Party.

Following the Wall Street bail-outs in 2009, a political movement also protesting their lack of representation in government sought a reduction of the U.S. national debt and deficits by reducing government spending and lowering taxes. They were referred to as The Tea Party, named from the aforementioned Boston variety.

Since then, supporters of the Tea Party have had a major impact on the internal politics of Republicans and have helped secure both houses of congress. But these representatives who were elected to bring fiscal discipline to Washington have failed to deliver on their promises.

A year before The Great Recession the Federal deficit was $162 billion, it peaked in 2009 at $1.45 trillion and this year came in at $439 billion, and is projected to increase significantly after 2018. All this overspend has driven our national debt to over $18 trillion dollars, which is already north of 100% of the Gross Domestic Product.

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Game Theory & Retirement Choices – Should You Get Yours, Before Everyone Else Tries To Get Theirs?

By Daniel R. Amerman, CFA – Re–Blogged From http://danielamerman.com

Game theory is a hot topic in many fields right now and for good reason – it can uncover better ways of making decisions, that are often otherwise missed. A particularly good example is the uncommon insights that game theory can deliver for us when it comes to making better retirement decisions.

For our decision-making “game”, let’s say there is a $1 million pool of money to be split between you and nine other people. If you wait until the end of ten years to cash out – you and everyone else are promised that you’ll be equally entitled to $250,000 each.

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How the Federal Government Betrayed Millennials

By Veronique de Rugy – Re-Blogged From http://www.Reason.com

Candidates running for president should take the following warning seriously: Years of bad government policies catering to interest groups have created a generation of young people facing tremendous challenges in the labor market and little chance to experience the good old American dream. We can hope that someone will put this government-created generation of disinherited at the center of his or her platform.

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The 2015 Untrustworthies Report——Why Social Security Could Be Bankrupt In 12 Years

By David Stockman – ReBloged From http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/

The so-called “trustees” of the social security system issued their annual report last week and the stenographers of the financial press dutifully reported that the day of reckoning when the trust funds run dry has been put off another year—-until 2034. So take a breath and kick the can. That’s five Presidential elections away!

Except that is not what the report really says. On a cash basis, the OASDI (retirement and disability) funds spent $859 billion during 2014 but took in only $786 billion in taxes, thereby generating $73 billion in red ink.  And by the trustees’ own reckoning, the OASDI funds will spew a cumulative cash deficit of $1.6 trillion during the 12-years covering 2015-2026.

So measured by the only thing that matters—-hard cash income and outgo—-the social security system has already gone bust. What’s more, even under the White House’s rosy scenario budget forecasts, general fund outlays will exceed general revenues ex-payroll taxes by $8 trillion over the next twelve years.

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Can A Nation $18 Trillion In Debt Afford Higher Interest Rates & Will This Change Our Retirements?

By Daniel Amerman – Re-Blogged From http://danielamerman.com/

For some years now, very low interest rates have been reducing the earnings of retirement investors as well as the lifestyles of many of those already retired. To understand why this has been happening – and why it may continue for a very long time – one must recognize that there is a direct relationship between the interest rates that are paid to savers, and the interest payments made by a heavily indebted federal government.

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Believing Impossible Things

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The other night, I talked with my new friend Jack about the Economy, Taxes, and eventually Social Security. I explained that the unfunded liability for Social Security was far beyond what was possible to meet, and that somewhere down the road, Social Security would default.

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Financial System Will Collapse Just a Matter of When-Laurence Kotlikoff

By Greg Hunter – Re-Blogged From http://www.usawatchdog.com

Renowned economist Laurence Kotlikoff recently testified at the U.S. Senate about the runaway U.S. budget.  How bad is it?  Kotlikoff says, “I told them the real (2014) deficit was $5 trillion, not the $500 billion or $300 billion or whatever it was announced to be this year.  Almost all the liabilities of the government are being kept off the books by bogus accounting. . . . The government is 58% underfinanced . . . . Social Security is 33% underfinanced . . . . So, the entire government enterprise is in worse fiscal shape than Social Security is, but they are both in terrible shape.”  So, how much is America on the hook for in the future?  Kotlikoff contends, “If you take all the expenditures that the government is expected to make, as projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), all the spending on defense, repairing the roads, paying for the Supreme Court Justices’ salaries, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, everything and take all those expenditures into the future . . . and compare that to all the taxes that are projected to come in, and the difference is $210 trillion.  That’s the fiscal gap.  That’s our true debt.”

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Federal Budget in Pictures

Federal Spending and Debt are Out of Control – Re-Blogged From http://www.heritage.org

If America does not change course, the future will be dramatically worse. Now more than ever, it is crucial that Americans understand what our nation’s spending, taxes, and debt mean for them and their families. The Heritage Foundation’s Federal Budget in Pictures offers a unique tool to learn about the federal budget in a clear and compelling way.

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How to Balance the Budget

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The US federal Budget has been in Deficit for generations. Our leaders in Washington have borrowed from our children without any prospect that the money will be paid back, at least not in Dollars with anywhere near the same value.

The current National Debt stands at over $18 Trillion, and with annual deficits resuming their previous $1+ Trillion, some projections are that the National Debt will double within 10 years. If the current levels are not sustainable, why would any sane person expect that a $36 Trillion National Debt could be reached without a collapse of the US Economy?

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Taxes vs Subsidies

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

There’s a truism in economics that, if you want more of something you subsidize it, and if you want less of it then you tax it. A quick look at government policy here in the US shows that this is as true today as it ever was.

But, since Americans have been taught to have knee jerk reactions, let’s try just to look as dispassionately as possible, not considering whether any of the policies are “needed desperately,” “are for a good cause,” or some other worthwhile purpose. Let’s just look at what is.

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Stolen Retirement

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

I’ve been reading about retirement lately. One piece of the retirement planning puzzle is figuring out how much money you need.

Let’s make some assumptions, for the purpose of this discussion – your requirements likely will vary considerably. Your annual earnings over your work life average $60K (near the current median family income),

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The Holiday Buying Season

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

When I first started working, the maximum yearly salary which required a FICA deduction was $4,800. (Yes, I’m old – don’t make fun.) Once you reach the maximum earnings, FICA deductions end for the year, and you get a bump up in your take home pay. (The Consumer Price Index (CPI) today stand more that 7 times as high as in 1966.)

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American Generosity vs Entitlements

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Many people doubt the generosity of Americans, especially Americans. They don’t want to depend on the generosity of strangers to provide food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, medical care for the medically indigent, or education for the poor. For them, if we don’t force all those American versions of Scrooge to cough up tax dollars, those in need won’t be provided for.

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What to Do About Debt?

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

According to Laurence Kotlikoff, economics professor at Boston University, the real, total National Debt including the “official” number, plus Agency debt, and plus unfunded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare is around $225 Trillion.

There are five ways to handle this situation:

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