In its reporting on the latest Social Security Trustees projections (Social Security and Medicare finances look grim as overall debt piles up, 5/6/24), the Post put a decidedly pessimistic spin on the facts. Contrary to the alarmist headline, the Trustees project that the programs’ trust funds will remain solvent longer than previously estimated — Social Security’s by one year and Medicare’s by a whopping five years.  The article falsely claims that Social Security and Medicare will “run out of money,” something that won’t happen so long as Americans are employed and paying into them. The programs’ trust funds need more revenue to remain solvent — and Congress must take action to fortify them and forestall automatic benefit cuts in the 2030s. Unmentioned in the Post article, Democratic lawmakers (including Rep. John Larson, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse) have introduced legislation to keep the Social Security trust fund solvent by requiring the wealthy to contribute their fair share in payroll taxes — without benefit cuts. Finally, the Post story conflates concerns about the Social Security and Medicare trust funds with “insurmountable debt,” even though Social Security and Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) are fully self-funded and do not add a single dollar to the debt.

Max Richtman
President & CEO
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare