News Release

Social Security Has “A Large and Growing Surplus”


NANCY ALTMAN, naltman at
Altman is co-director of Social Security Works, which today released an analysis of the Social Security Trustees report titled “Strengthen Social Security, Don’t Cut it: Key Points about the 2013 Social Security Trustees Report” [PDF].

The group states: “Today’s report from the Social Security Trustees shows that our Social Security system has a large and growing surplus. Unlike the banks, which nearly brought the economy to ruin, Social Security didn’t need a bailout. Its surplus has grown year after year, even during the Great Recession. The result of decades of foresight and planning, its cumulative surplus is projected to be $2.8 trillion in 2013, growing to $2.9 trillion by 2020. Social Security does not and cannot contribute to the deficit. Social Security will take in more money than it pays out, roughly $28 billion more in 2013. Social Security has a large surplus in 2013 because it has more than enough income from its three sources of revenue to cover its expenses — payroll contributions, interest payments on the $2.8 trillion invested in U.S. Treasury bonds and taxation of benefits. …

“Social Security financing can be improved and made more fair by closing the payroll tax loophole for high income earners. Congress should raise the Social Security payroll tax cap so that the 6 percent of workers who make more than $113,700 a year contribute on all of their wages just like everyone else.

“Also, currently modest annual benefits averaging $15,200 can be improved. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced legislation that would expand Social Security benefits; and the centrist New America Foundation has proposed increasing Social Security benefits by $11,669 per year. They know it’s time to expand, not cut, Social Security!”