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To Solve Social Security Challenge, Obama Administration Has to Admit it Exists

February 03, 2015

At today’s Ways and Means hearing, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) that the Social Security trust fund is “in stronger shape now” than when President Obama took office.

Really, Mr. Secretary? No matter how you look at it, Social Security has only gotten weaker. Every year, the program’s trustees figure out how big of a shortfall there is between the program’s expected revenue and costs over the next 75 years. In the last six years, this shortfall has doubled to a grand total of $10.6 trillion. That’s $10.6 trillion in promises the government can’t keep.

But maybe Secretary Lew is just using a different metric. Another way to look at it: When the President took office, Social Security could pay full benefits for 28 years. But now, according to the 2014 report, it’s just 19.

No matter how you look at it, the news for Social Security just keeps getting worse. And yet the administration can’t even acknowledge that. Before you can solve a problem, you have to admit you have one. Millions of Americans and their families rely on Social Security, and we need a real solution, not just a budget gimmick, to save and strengthen this important program.