Social Security will spend more than it collects this year, the program’s trustees said Tuesday, marking the first time in more than 35 years that it will run an annual deficit as it slides toward insolvency by 2034.

Medicare’s main trust fund is in even worse shape, scheduled to hit insolvency in 2026 — three years earlier than last year’s estimate, the trustees said.

The twin warnings add even more pressure to a budget already strained by last year’s tax cuts and this year’s deal to boost spending on defense and basic domestic needs, leaving few bright spots in the federal fiscal picture.

The news also produced the usual finger-pointing among Democrats and Republicans, but budget watchdogs said the news was so grim that it should cut through the bipartisan bickering.

“It would be a nice change if this year Congress and the president actually took these warnings seriously enough to do something,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition.

Social Security has been struggling for years and turned cash-negative this decade, meaning the government paid out more in benefits each year than it collected from the payroll tax.

But some analysts had said it was still running a surplus because of interest on the money credited to the trust fund. Now, even that crutch is gone, as even with interest revenue included the program will pay out more this year than it collects.

It’s the first time since 1982 that the program has shown an overall annual deficit.

“This is deeply troubling and should serve as a reality check for anyone concerned about the future of this important program,” said Rep. Sam Johnson, Texas Republican and chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees Social Security.

The program is slated to take in $828.2 billion this year, with most of that coming from payroll taxes. It will pay out $853.6 billion in benefits and administrative costs. That will cut the cumulative trust fund from $2.820 trillion to $2.795 trillion — a small but symbolic slide.

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance program, the main part of the trust fund, will have its assets depleted in 2034, at which point benefits will have to be cut by more than 20 percent, the trustees said.

Full article at link. Source link probably has heavy bias also, so take with a grain of salt.