THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
SOCIAL SECURITY TRUSTEES' REPORT: 1999 March 30, 1999
Today, the Social Security Trustees projected that the Social Security Trust Funds will not be exhausted until 2034 -- 2 years later than projected in last year's report. These improvements are due in large part to the strength of our economy and President Clinton's strategy of fiscal discipline. With the longest peacetime economic expansion in history, President Clinton's economic strategy is and continues to be successful.
The Annual Report of the Social Security Trustees Shows a Modest Improvement in the Long-run Financial Status of the Program over the Past Year. Under the new projections, the Social Security Trust Funds will not be exhausted until 2034, 2 years later than projected in last year's report. The 75-year actuarial balance improved from -2.19 to -2.07. These improvements are due in part to the strength of our economy and President Clinton's strategy of fiscal discipline. With the longest peacetime economic expansion in history, President Clinton's economic strategy is and continues to be successful.
The Improved Financial Status of the Social Security Program Is Good News. While this news is very promising, we should not become complacent about reforming the Social Security program. These modest improvements only underscore the fundamental challenge we face. This report provides further evidence that we must act now to make certain that Social Security is as strong for our children as it has been for our parents. The need for reform has not changed. The President has emphasized that reform must occur now while our economy is strong. Any changes we make now will be far easier than if we wait until the trust fund exhaustion date is eminent.
The President's Framework Will Extend Social Security Even Further. In his State of the Union address this past January, President Clinton proposed to transfer 62 percent of the projected budget surpluses over the next 15 years--more than $2.7 trillion--to the Social Security trust fund. A portion of these transferred surpluses would be invested in the private sector to achieve higher returns for Social Security. Under the revised Trustees' projections, this will keep Social Security solvent until around 2059. But this is not enough--the President wants to work with both parties in Congress to make the tough but sensible choices that are necessary to save Social Security, and he is committed to working with Congress to save this system until at least 2075.
The President's Plan Is Fiscally Responsible--continuing His Record of Fiscal Discipline. As a share of the economy, the publicly-held debt increased from 26% in 1981 to 50% in 1993. Since President Clinton took office, the publicly-held debt as a share of the GDP has dropped to 44 percent. Under the President's framework, the publicly-held debt will be cut by more than two-thirds, and, as a share of the GDP, will fall from 44% today to 7.1% in 2014--its lowest level since 1917.