Andy Landis writing for Market Watch at the Wall Street Journal, of all places, has an excellent Q&A piece addressing the recently released report of Social Security's trustees. It's refreshingly honest and straightforward. Here's an excerpt:
How much does Social Security waste in bureaucracy?SSA's operating overhead is 0.8% of total expenditures, about the same as a discount mutual fund, and that includes Medicare. It's been a fraction of 1% for decades.
What about the 2% payroll tax "holiday"? Didn't that further erode Social Security finances?
No. During the "holiday" in 2011 and 2012, government made up the missing income with direct grants from general revenues. It was the first time SSA was not self-funded and depended on government money. Grants have stopped now that the "holiday" has ended.
Is this Social Security's worst financial report ever?
Far from it. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Social Security ran deficits. Trust fund insolvency loomed in July 1983. With mere months of solvency left, Congress acted to bolster finances on April 20, 1983. SSA still operates under the 1983 funding arrangement, generating surpluses every year since.