Social Security Just Ran a $9 Trillion Deficit, and Nobody Noticed

By Laurence Kotlikoff | 14 May 2019

THE HILL — Social Security’s annual Trustees Report came out recently, and it showed Social Security ran a gigantic $9 trillion deficit between last year and this year. The system’s long-term unfunded liability is now $43 trillion, up from $34 trillion last year.

Funny, nobody noticed.

Did I miss a tweet from the president? I don’t think so. What about the press? Did anyone see an article about Social Security’s deficit exceeding the federal deficit by a factor of 11? Nope.

The press covers on-the-books “official” federal debt, but it ignores off-the-books unofficial federal debt. The fact that one set of debts is on the books because of Congress’ choice of words and another isn’t, again, because of Congress’ choice of words, matters not. When it comes to economics, the press too often simply believes what it’s told. […]

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