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Were you planning to retire someday?

Chart shows trust funds of the Social Security and Medicare systems. (AP)

Every year the trustees responsible for keeping Social Security solvent release their report.

“By any objective measure, it’s getting late in the game to forge a bipartisan compromise to sustain social security’s finances,” says Trustee Charles Blahous.

Translation? Time is running out.

Now, I don’t pretend that any of this is exciting, it’s just that for some people, Social Security is the difference between being able to retire and having to work until you keel over.

So here’s Blahous describing what he and his colleagues found when they ran the numbers, “By 2033, the required payroll tax rate to fund scheduled social security benefits would be an increase of over one-third in workers’ social security tax burdens.”

Now 2033 is 19 years away but what he’s saying is that for those of you now in your 40’s, to be able to collect your full social security, Congress would have to find the political will to raise the payroll tax – by about 33 percent.

Not likely to happen.

‘But Dave!’ you say. ‘Forget higher taxes. Let’s just live within our means!’

Well, they ran those numbers, too.

“On the other hand, if we reduce benefits across the board in attempt to avoid a tax increase, those benefit reductions would have to be 23 percent,” Blahous.

Now a 23 percent cut in your benefits is no big deal – if you’re independently wealthy. But just in case you’re not – members of Congress, who could fix this – will be coming home next week to take your questions. You might want to show up and raise your hand.

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