At the end of 2021 the Social Security combined trust held $2,852,000,000,000.
Trust income for the year was $980,000,000,000 from payroll taxes, $70,000,000,000 from interest income and $37,000,000,000 from income taxes paid on Social Security benefits.
With that income the balance of the Trust declined by $56,300,000,000.
It would appear clear that Social Security needs an increase in inflow or a decrease in outflow or a combination of both. This is simply because revenue was never created equal to new benefits added by Congress which remain unfunded AND revenue adjustments were not made to account for changing demographics.
What is not simple – apparently impossible – is politicians, pundits and advocacy groups telling you the truth.
The better news is this is a long-term problem that can be fixed gradually. The bad news is that so far we have wasted decades to apply relatively painless solutions and time is getting short.
The other bad news is that there people out there looking for an easy fix not involving all Americans and which would change the very foundation of the program.