March 23 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Social Security program will be exhausted of assets in 2041, a year earlier than previously forecast, its trustees said today.
The 70-year-old government retirement program will start paying out more in benefits than it receives in tax revenue in 2017, compared with last year’s forecast of 2018, the trustees said in a report issued in Washington.
The administration of President George W. Bush said the outlook is fresh evidence that Congress needs to act on his plan to divert a portion of Social Security payroll taxes to accounts invested in stocks and bonds. Democrats say Bush is trying to manufacture a crisis to privatize Social Security, and that the proposed accounts risk enlarging the federal budget deficit.
Social Security is on an “unsustainable course,” U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said at a press conference, citing the program’s total unfunded liability of $11.1 trillion, up from $10.4 trillion last year, he said. “The numbers published today leave no question that Social Security reform is needed,”