Discussions on Capitol Hill surrounding spending cuts and the federal debt ceiling have raised a host of questions on entitlement programs such as the Social Security program. The Subcommittee on Social Security for the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on Social Security finances. Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) called for the hearing to review current benefit expenditures of Social Security as well as proposed changes and the potential impact of such changes on the program.
The 2011 Annual Report of the Social Security Trustees highlighted future funding challenges to both the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and the Disability Insurance (DI) programs. Current estimates by the Trustees project permanent and growing cash flow deficits noting that the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds will be exhausted by 2036, with government revenues covering only 77% percent of benefit payments.
Witnesses at the hearing include; Syl Schieber, independent consultant; Thomas S. Terry, president, T. Terry Consulting, representing the American Academy of Actuaries; C. Eugene Steuerle, senior fellow, Urban Institute; Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security, National Women's Law Center; Charles P. Blahous, research fellow, Hoover Institution; and Barbara Bovbjerg, director, Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues, Government Accountability Office.