Writing in the National Review recently, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida claims that Social Security will be insolvent by the time he retires. He goes on to make a few suggestions to fix the program. Each of these ‘fixes’ is problematic. The flaws with the Rubio fixes have been and will be repeated many times (for example, raising the retirement age can be problematic for workers in physically demanding jobs). But before getting to the fixes, there should be a full stop after the paragraph:
“I am currently 43 years old. This means that if nothing changes, by the time I reach full retirement age at 67, both Social Security and Medicare will have been insolvent for years.”
Presumably, that statement intended to make people believe that the program will be unable to pay any benefits to support Mr. Rubio in retirement. The fact is, even if no changes are made to Social Security between now and 2033, the program will still be able to pay 75 percent of benefits for the foreseeable future. Bringing it closer to home, Senator Rubio would receive a Social Security benefit of $35,140* (in 2014 dollars) in his first year of retirement and each year thereafter. By the same token, Medicare will be able to pay more than 80 percent of its projected costs. This is far from the impression Rubio gives of programs that are out of money.
* This is based on a 2011 calculation of the Social Security benefits of sitting senators