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Big job losses and a spike in early retirement claims from laid-off seniors will force Social Security to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes the next two years, the first time that's happened since the 1980s.
The deficits - $10 billion in 2010 and $9 billion in 2011 - won't affect payments to retirees because Social Security has accumulated surpluses from previous years totaling $2.5 trillion. But they will add to the overall federal deficit.
The federal government maintains that there is no cause for alarm even though the Congressional Budget Office says that the system will begin running permanent deficits by 2016, and will be totally depleted by 2036. The government reminds us that the Social Security Trust Fund has a surplus of 2.5 trillion, even though this “surplus” consists of IOU’s from the federal government. The actual surplus has already been confiscated and spent on a wide variety of social engineering projects, countless layers of inefficient and valueless bureaucracies, entitlements and pork barrel projects.
The severity of the Social Security crisis and other growing deficits begs a larger question: Is the US government going broke?