Response to the 2008 Social Security Trustees Report

Social Security is one of the great accomplishments of the 20th Century. It has made it possible for a majority of Americans to retain middle class status in retirement. It keeps millions of families and children with a disabled or deceased breadwinner out of poverty.

The Social Security Trustees recently released their 2008 annual report. The Trustees projections for Social Security are similar to 2006 and 2007. Evidence in the report shows that: Social Security is in excellent shape over the short term and that the program will have the resources to continue as a foundation of economic security for Americans of all generations through the 21st century.

The annual Trustees report was envisioned as a way to provide policy makers and citizens with information on the long-term stability of Social Security. The report projects the finances of the program for the next 75 years. Doing so has always required a degree of fortune telling. Projecting 75 years into the future requires the use of numerous assumptions. Minor changes in assumptions carried out over many years can make massive differences in the end results. Adding to the confusion of this already difficult task, is that in recent years, conservative politics appears to be having a greater influence on the contents of the report. The report is increasingly influenced by the partisan politics of the Presidential appointees who serve as trustees.

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