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January/February 1991, 
Vol. 73, No. 1
Posted 1991-01-01

The Future of Social Security: An Update

by Keith M. Carlson

Keith M. Carlson examines the current financial status of the Social Security system and addresses the concern about its long-run viability. Carlson focuses on the 1990 annual reports of the Social Security trust funds and compares the projected surpluses with those prepared following the enactment of the 1983 Social Security amendments. The projected surpluses are now smaller than forecast in 1983. The financial condition of Social Security is affected particularly by real wage and productivity growth. A review of the assumptions underlying the revised outlook indicates that the near-term surpluses will be smaller than generally expected and the far-term deficits will be larger.