Social Security has 16 years left before benefit cuts begin, report says

Medicare and Social Security are running out of money more quickly than expected, officials said Tuesday.

The report says Social Security will become insolvent in 2034 - no change from the projection past year. In 2005, President George W. Bush was dismissed as an alarmist for highlighting projections that the program would begin spending more money on benefits than it takes in starting in 2018 and that its "trust fund" would be depleted in 2042.

Don't worry, that doesn't mean that Mom and Dad won't have any Social Security to rely on after 2034.

This is the first time that's happened since the Reagan admin.

Of the two programs, Medicare faces the greatest fiscal challenges as medical costs increase and the USA ages, with many baby boomers set to retire in the next several years.

Government trustees reported that a combination of rising costs and an aging population cut the life expectancy of Medicare's trust fund to just 8 years.

President Trump campaigned on a promise that he wouldn't cut Social Security or Medicare, but he hasn't offered a rescue plan for either program.

In 2017, Medicare covered 58.4 million people, with 49.5 million older than 65.

"The programs remain secure", he said, adding: "The administration's economic agenda - tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements - will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path".

Social Security covers 62 million people, split among retired workers and their dependents, survivors of workers who've died and disabled people.

Excluding federal debt payments, Medicare and Social Security together make up about 40 percent of total United States government spending. Advocates for the elderly said today there should be no cuts to Social Security benefits. Options include raising the maximum income cutoff for imposing Social Security taxes, now $127,200.

"The historical reluctance of lawmakers to reduce benefits for current beneficiaries means that each successive year of delay excludes another large cohort of baby boomer retirees from contributing to the solution, thereby reducing the numbers of those among whom the burden of balancing system finances must be spread", the two former trustees warned.

Democrats want to expand the safety net by spending more on health care and education.

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