Selected Summary Points from IOUs in the Cookie Jar
- Terms like "bankruptcy" and "insolvency" exaggerate the problems of Social Security.
- The Social Security trust funds are not now in trouble.
- A 1.5-trillion-dollar surplus, sufficient to pay all benefits for 2.8 years, existed in the Social Security trust funds at the end of the year 2003.
- The surplus is expected to grow to more than $4 trillion by the year 2018.
- Most U.S. wage earners pay more Social Security tax than income tax.
- Surplus Social Security payroll taxes are now being used to fund operating expenses of the U.S. Government.
- The 12.4% Social Security payroll tax could be reduced to 9.4% and still cover current benefit payments.
- Some numbers cited to promote the idea that Social Security is facing a crisis -- the alleged 10.4 trillion dollar unfunded obligation and the 16-retiree-per-worker ratio of the 1950s -- are deceptive because they have been selected out of context.