Let's set the record straight about Social Security. It's not "going broke" in 50 or 75 years … it's broke today.
The system's unfunded liability is $32 trillion, according to the "infinite horizon" projection in the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees' annual report. This is the present value difference between a) all the system's projected benefit payments and b) all the system's projected tax receipts plus the existing trust fund. This unfunded liability measure is called Social Security's fiscal gap. It's formed over the system's entire projected future.
Social Security's $32 trillion in red ink is 32 percent of the present value of the system's projected taxes. This means Social Security is 32 percent underfunded. In comparison, Detroit's pensions were only 20 percent underfunded before they helped drive the city into bankruptcy. Being 32 percent underfunded means that perpetuating the system in its current form requires an immediate and permanent 32-percent hike in the system's 12.4 percent combined employer-employee payroll tax rate. This means we all need to pay 4 cents in extra taxes for every dollar we earn up to the covered earnings ceiling, now $118,500. The longer we wait to raise taxes, assuming we don't intend to cut benefits, the larger the requisite tax hike will be. And that is something our children will bear.
What's more, Social Security, a system that has hundreds of thousands of rules, is a user nightmare. In my experience, the staff is so poorly trained that half of their "advice" is either completely wrong, partially wrong, or correct but entirely misleading.
I'm running for president as a registered write-in candidate. (That means that, unlike a write-in for "Mickey Mouse," votes for me will be counted.)
My opponents haven't said much about Social Security. I'm not sure if it's because they don't know how to do fiscal accounting or they do know and they are concealing the truth about the nature of our country's long-term fiscal condition. Either way, our kids don't have the luxury anymore of amateur hour in the White House.