Social Security debate (United States)

Social Security Debate (United States)

Social Security debate (United States)

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This article concerns proposals to change the Social Security system in the United States. Social Security is a social insurance program officially called "Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance" (OASDI), in reference to its three components. It is primarily funded through a dedicated payroll tax. During 2009, total benefits of $686 billion were paid out versus income (taxes and interest) of $807 billion, a $121 billion annual surplus. An estimated 156 million people paid into the program and 53 million received benefits, roughly 2.94 workers per beneficiary.

Reform proposals continue to circulate with some urgency, due to a long-term funding challenge faced by the program. Starting in 2015 and continuing thereafter, program expenses are expected to exceed cash revenues. This is due to the aging of the baby-boom generation (resulting in a lower ratio of paying workers to retirees), expected continuing low birth rate (compared to the baby-boom period), and increasing life expectancy. Further, the government has borrowed and spent the accumulated surplus funds, called the Social Security Trust Fund.

During 2011 the Trust Fund held $2.6 trillion, up from $2.5 trillion in 2010. The Trust Fund consists of the savings of worker contributions and associated interest, to be used towards future earned benefit payments. Funds are held in United States Treasury...
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