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Is one of the few programs that's exempt from that 85 billion dollar -- the board cuts that may be coming but the social security agency.
Maybe faced with a bigger problems down the road so what is congress need to do to keep the agency afloat joining us now is Michael -- -- -- -- former Social Security commissioner.
Richard thank you for coming in appreciate your being here -- The agency itself social security agency has about 65000.
Employees I may be a little off on -- but that's -- last figure I could get.
Has the agency itself.
Consider downsizing or have they downsize -- -- passed up owners.
The agencies the agency's downside is that a dramatically we haven't had an appropriations since 2010.
So we've gone from an agency has gone from.
About 70000 employees federal employees to just over 60000 they've shed almost 15%.
-- of the administrative workforce.
And it's been it's been tough.
But you know the agency is carrying on.
Now you're from the private or you had a stent in the private sector very long -- by the way you're you're General Counsel about.
-- -- you word you were actually is CEO of of a turnaround company so.
What were you able to implement strategies from the private sector in order to downsize Social Security.
-- we had historically through the use of IT increased productivity.
Annually during my six years.
We increased almost 5%.
OK so let me stop you there could measure why can't that be done.
Across the field in government why can't that be done and every agency where you bring in somebody was real experience of downsizing from the private sector.
And and -- -- the public sector.
Well each agency is different I'm I'm not sure that for all agencies you could hit that mark.
But I do think that in general that kind of private sector experience.
-- is helpful and right now.
I think -- PBGC has that kind of experience but from most federal agencies they don't have that type of experience and I do think.
In a time of contraction.
Is -- useful tool -- to have.
All right let's let's talk specifically now about so Social Security because despite.
The downsizing of the the administration.
With a stagnant economy and a very high unemployment level you have many fewer people paying into social security and that means the trust fund might -- must be getting smaller and smaller correct.
That's correct and so the trust fund the estimates have been moving in the wrong direction since I was first commissioner and right now the trust funds as a whole.
-- start paying less than full -- -- let's let me just describe for the audience exactly what the trust fund is.
That is the surplus of Social Security revenue that they take in over what they have to pay out.
And the last figure I have back in 2007 it was about.
2.2 trillion dollars I'm I'm sure that's that's gone down a bit since then is it is it at risk.
Of going into negative territory.
Not in the short run I mean we are negative on a cash flow basis now -- net.
You know that was known for some time it's not a cause for huge alarm.
What is a cause for alarm is -- again.
Full benefits will stop being paid out now across the board in 2033 and for the disability fund.
Is were only three years away.
From paying out less and full benefits I want to thinks -- that shocking.
Is that this is not a surprise.
Congress is known this for ten years year after year on the trustees report I've I've complained about this.
In literally nothing is -- also commander in its.
What do we do forgive me for -- -- but we running out of time here what do we do the fact is is that a lot more people.
Have been put on disability and Social Security disability over the past three or four years since a recession.
If they if that fund runs out of money what happens.
-- not a lot more have been put on when you just four.
The baby boomer aging it's actually relatively flat OK well it's still there run out of money but what an outstanding.
Well I think think the key thing here is you look at where we are with sequestration you have to come.
To the conclusion -- congress is just not capable of making hard budgetary and financial choices.
And you need to gimmick and I think -- -- that we need is we need to have the commission that looks like the Simpson Bowles commission and puts together a package and this time instead of just being advisory in congress doing nothing about it.
There should be legislation that says the package goes to the congress for an up or down vote without amendments only where we're gonna get anything done in my opinion.
Michael us through his Social Security commissioner for several years he's just retired debt if from that position we look forward to hear more -- in the private sector continuing on thank you very much for being here -- we have him.
We have earnings.
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