By traditional pension accounting Social Security isn’t just flat broke, it’s deep in the hole. From Lance Roberts at realinvestmentadvice.com:
Social Security has a problem. As Democrats push to expand entitlements to include free preschool and subsidized child care, little attention is getting paid to Social Security is a financial trainwreck.
“The program’s payouts have exceeded revenue since 2010, but the recent past is nowhere near as grim as the future. According to the latest annual report by Social Security’s trustees, the gap between promised benefits and future payroll tax revenue has reached a staggering $59.8 trillion. That gap is $6.8 trillion larger than it was just one year earlier. The biggest driver of that move wasn’t Covid-19, but rather a lowering of expected fertility over the coming decades.” – Stark Realities
Note the last sentence.
When President Roosevelt first enacted social security in 1935, the intention was to serve as a safety net for the elderly. However, at that time, life expectancy was roughly 60-years of age. Therefore, expectations were that participants would not be drawing on social security for very long from an actuarial basis. Furthermore, roughly 16-workers paid into social security for each welfare participant.
Of course, given that politicians like to use government coffers to buy votes, additional amendments got added to social security to expand the participation in the program. Such included adding domestic labor in 1950 and widows and orphans in 1956. They lowered the retirement age to 62 in 1961 and increased benefits in 1972. Then politicians added more beneficiaries, from the disabled to immigrants, farmers, railroad workers, firefighters, ministers, federal, state, and local government employees, etc.
While politicians and voters continued to add more beneficiaries to the welfare program, the number of workers steadily declined. Today, there are barely 2-workers for each beneficiary.