Larry Kotlikoff’s Commentaries
A month ago, Social Security’s Trustees published their annual report. Table VIF1, buried deep in the Appendix, where no one looks, is the statement that Social Security’s unfunded liability is $66 trillion. This measure of Social Security’s red ink is not just gargantuan on its own. It’s $13 trillion larger than it was just three years ago. More
Roy Farmer of Grand Rapids Michigan has Cerebral Palsy. He’s 32. In 2019, out of the blue, he received a claw back letter from Social Security demanding he repay $4,902 that his (now deceased) mother received back when he was 11. Roy has spent over three years appealing this judgement. He’s been denied twice. More from Kotlikoff Forbes editorial.
Over half of working-age Americans face lifetime marginal tax rates (including direct taxes and loss of entitlement benefits) above 43 percent. One in ten in the bottom fifth face tax rates above 70 percent, effectively locking them into poverty. For some would-be-workers, the tax rates exceed 100 percent.
Extremely high LMTRs reflect the complete loss of family benefits, in the current and future years, from programs such as Medicaid – which ends benefits abruptly if one’s income or assets exceed specific thresholds by even one dollar. More.
That’s the difference between the federal government’s spending commitments and its income – looking indefinitely into the future. Closing the gap through time requires an immediate and permanent 41.3 percent increase in all federal taxes or an immediate and permanent 35.3 percent cut in all non interest federal spending. More
Our country’s fiscal gap is 7.7 percent of GDP. This means we need to collect 7.7 percent more in taxes, every year starting now, to cover all the future spending the CBO projects. Alternatively, we need to immediately and permanently lower the path of federal spending by 7.7 percent of each future year’s GDP. Or we can do neither of these things and dig an even deeper hole for our kids. More