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Social Security's Financial Outlook: The 2008 Update in Perspective


  • Alicia H. Munnell

    (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College)


The Trustees of the Social Security system have just issued the 2008 projections for the system over the next 75 years. The report contains two surprises. First, the 75-year deficit dropped to 1.70 percent of tax­able payrolls from the roughly 2 percent it has been for the last 14 years. The decline was driven primar­ily by a change in the way Social Security projects immigration. Although the Trustees still project that the trust fund will be exhausted in 2041, the improved outlook enables scheduled payroll taxes to cover more than three-quarters of promised benefits after that point. The second noteworthy difference between this report and earlier ones is that it has not been signed by any public trustees. But this omission reflects a failure with the political process, not with the program itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Alicia H. Munnell, 2008. "Social Security's Financial Outlook: The 2008 Update in Perspective," Issues in Brief ib2008-8-5, Center for Retirement Research, revised May 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:issbrf:ib2008-8-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Juan Yermo, 2008. "Governance and Investment of Public Pension Reserve Funds in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Working Papers on Insurance and Private Pensions 15, OECD Publishing.
    2. Edwin M. Truman, 2009. "A Blueprint for Sovereign Wealth Fund Best Practices," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 9(1), pages 429-451.
    3. Olivia S. Mitchell & John Piggott & Cagri Kumru, 2008. "Managing Public Investment Funds: Best Practices and New Challenges," NBER Working Papers 14078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:crr:issbrf:ib2007-7-12 is not listed on IDEAS
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