July 13, 2010

IBD Op-Ed Wonders Where Social Security/Medicare Trustees’ Report Is; Rest of Media Doesn’t

SocSecBrokeCard0309Once again, it’s clear that reading editorials and op-eds at publications like the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily becomes a requirement to be truly informed when a Democratic administration in power.

On July 6, Peter Ferrara at IBD noted that the annual report from the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare system is long overdue, and wondered why:

Are Overdue Reports Concealing ObamaCare Impact On Medicare?

Every year, the Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees comes out between mid-April and mid-May. Now it’s July, and there’s no sign of this year’s report. What is the Obama administration hiding?

The annual report includes detailed information about Social Security and its financing over the next 75 years, produced by the Office of the Actuary of the Social Security Administration.

The Congressional Budget Office reported last week in its Long Term Budget Outlook that Social Security was already running a deficit this year. According to last year’s Social Security Trustees Report, that was not supposed to happen until 2015, with the trust fund to run out completely by 2037.

With the disastrous Obama economy, the great Social Security surplus that started in the Reagan administration is gone completely.

Every year, the federal government has been raiding the Social Security trust funds to take that annual surplus and spend it on the rest of the federal government’s runaway spending, leaving the trust funds only with IOUs backed by nothing but politicians’ promise to pay it back when it’s needed. Now even that annual surplus is gone. How soon will the trust funds run out completely now?

(But) The implications for Social Security aren’t what the Obama administration is hiding by delaying the annual trustees reports. Those annual reports also include information regarding Medicare over the next 75 years. What the administration is trying to hide are sweeping draconian cuts to Medicare resulting from the ObamaCare legislation, which the annual report will document.

The administration is trying to delay the report until mid-August, when it’s hoping the country will be on vacation and won’t notice. Or maybe the delay is because the White House is trying to bludgeon the chief actuaries for Medicare and Social Security into fudging the numbers.

The Social Security “IOUs backed by nothing but politicians’ promise to pay it back when it’s needed” are from a government that itself has well over $10 trillion dollars in other debt, before counting Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and a host of other off-the-books liabilities. Then there are the additional tens of trillions in actuarial liabilities.

Ferrara didn’t note that the administration announced a delay until June 30 back on April 5, “so that the new report can reflect the impact of the recently passed health care overhaul.” But they’re now almost two weeks late. What are they waiting for? A really, really busy news day? A Friday night midsummer doc dump?

Meanwhile, no one in the rest of the press appears to be the least bit curious.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. I’ll go with a Friday night doc dump in mid-August. I decided to re-run the 2009 Trustees’ Social Security assumptions with the actual 2009/2010 results, and things are UGLY-with-a-capital-Y.

    Assuming the intermediate-case growth rates in revenues and outgo starting next year, as well as a more-realistic static 5% interest rate on the IOUs (since the weighted average is 4.88% and new issues are 2.875%), the DI Fund would disappear in 2016 and the OASI Fund would disappear in 2030. Assuming the law is changed to combine the two, the combined funds would likely disappear in 2028.

    It gets worse if one uses the proven-to-be-optimistic “high-cost” growth rates. Again using a static 5% interest rate, the DI Fund would dissapear in 2015 and the OASI Fund would dissapear in 2026. Combining the funds would likely cause it to disappear in 2024.

    Comment by steveegg — July 13, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  2. [...] (H/T – Tom Blumer) [...]

    Pingback by No Runny Eggs » Blog Archive » Tuesday Hot Read – Peter Ferrera’s “Are Overdue Reports Concealing ObamaCare Impact On Medicare?” — July 13, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  3. Actually, I have to wonder if not only are they hiding the monthly shortfall in receipts for both programs but even more importantly any report by the government that details the cuts in Medicare under the caveat of “saving” it for a use other than intended. Any cut in Medicare under the guise of redirecting the money to non Medicare use is ILLEGAL unless the Congress specifically stipulates it so. Therefore once the SS Trustees report comes out, I as POA for my mother, who is on Medicare have standing to sue the government for misuse of funds.

    Comment by dscott — July 13, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  4. #1, I’m not surprised, given that the SocSec system has gone from supposedly running cash surpluses until 2016 in last year’s report to maybe breaking even at best over the next several years (it will probably be worse than that).

    Wish I had time to see if there is a legal deadline for the report. I’m thinking there is.

    Comment by TBlumer — July 14, 2010 @ 1:50 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.