Measuring Social Security's True Liability
Publication Date: May 2009
Publisher(s): National Center for Policy Analysis (U.S.)
Author(s): Laurence J. Kotlikoff
Keywords: liabilities; retirement; social security; trustees report
Coverage: United States
Every year the Social Security Trustees publish a report on the fiscal solvency of the program. It details the program's unfunded liabilities, which is what the government will still owe after it uses current and future tax receipts to pay for current and future retiree benefits. In 2005, the Social Security Trustees estimated that the program's unfunded liabilities were $8.5 trillion. This means that even after accounting for payroll tax revenues the federal government would have to have this much money in the bank today, accruing interest, in order to pay promises to future retirees.