CBO Report: Social Security Going Bankrupt Faster under Obama

At a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio in 2010, President Barack Obama ensured the worried audience that “Social Security is not in crisis.”  Obama was wrong.

Not only is Social Security in the worst shape it has ever been in, a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report reveals the problem has grown significantly worse under the Obama administration.

In its annual long-term Social Security projections report, the nonpartisan CBO says 2013 Social Security costs exceeded income by about 9 percent, and that gap is expected to average 17 percent over the next decade. The CBO projects that by 2030, all Social Security trust funds will be exhausted, and unless income exceeds expenditures, “the Social Security Administration [will] no longer have legal authority to pay full benefits when they [are] due.”

The slow demise of Social Security trust funds should surprise no one, but what is disturbing is the rate at which the CBO’s projections for Social Security’s survival has dropped under Obama.

In August 2009, the CBO estimated the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) -- the two funds that compose Social Security -- would be exhausted in 2043. The last CBO report for Social Security under President George W. Bush, released in August 2008, projected funds wouldn’t be exhausted until 2049.

The 13-year decline in CBO estimates for Social Security’s viability from 2009–2014 under the Obama administration represents a major failure by the president to solve -- or even mitigate -- a crisis everyone knew was coming.

“We’re going to have to make some modest adjustments in order to strengthen [Social Security],” Obama said in Ohio in 2010, but rather than strengthen the system, the president’s economic policies have contributed to its downfall.

Since his inauguration, Obama has implemented countless destructive taxes. In fact, taxes have risen faster under Obama than they have under any other president since the end of World War II.

The American Action Forum also found in its recent study that new or expanded regulations passed by the Obama administration cost Americans $181.5 billion in 2014 alone, and the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found that businesses have been forced to endure 50 percent more “significant” regulations under Obama than under George W. Bush.

The irresponsible business climate fostered under the president’s leadership is reflected in numerous important economic indicators that help explain the increasing collapse of Social Security.

Although the misleading unemployment rate under Obama dropped down to 5.6 percent in December 2014, the civilian labor force participation rate for Americans aged 25–54 has fallen by more than 2 percent since Obama took office, which means there are fewer non-retirement-age people, relative to total population, paying into Social Security than in past decades. Additionally, real median household incomes have sharply decreased under Obama, and the number of Americans receiving food stamps is up by more than 50 percent since George W. Bush left office in 2009.

Add it all together and it’s easy to see why the nation has been left with a Social Security disaster -- one so extreme that the CBO says the DI trust fund, which is responsible for aiding disabled workers and their spouses and children, will be tapped out by 2017.

Unless Obama swallows his pride and works with the Republican-led Congress to make serious reforms to Social Security trust funds, Baby Boomers around the nation are going to be stuck with ever-decreasing benefits in an increasingly inflationary world.

Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is an author, blogger, and the editor at The Heartland Institute, a leading free-market think tank based out of Chicago, IL. You can follow him @TheNewRevere.

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