Waiting on the Social Security Trustees Report: April 1 and Counting

When I was a newbie Social Security commenter and then blogger back in the 1999-2004 era there was a day I only half faceticiously called “The Bestest Day of the Year at Webb House!”. Yes it was Social Security Report Release Day which came out like literal clockwork on March 31st, so much so that I actually had posts at the Bruce Web set up with links that would go live the second the Report was released. Except that one year in the Bush Administration it didn’t and then in the six years of the Obama Administration when they missed each and every year. Always for good reasons, I guess because they never actually explain them, but really no harm no foul. Right? Well I would argue (later) that there is a harm and certainly a foul, because this isn’t just some sort of event that mostly just happens to come when it did. Instead this is a legally established mandate embedded right i the Social Security Act. Which language I reproduce along with some other pieces explaining the current makeup of the Trustees. With any bolding mine.

(c) With respect to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund (hereinafter in this title called the “Trust Funds”) there is hereby created a body to be known as the Board of Trustees of the Trust Funds (hereinafter in this title called the “Board of Trustees”) which Board of Trustees shall be composed of the Commissioner of Social Security, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, all ex officio, and of two members of the public (both of whom may not be from the same political party), who shall be nominated by the President for a term of four years and subject to confirmation by the Senate. A member of the Board of Trustees serving as a member of the public and nominated and confirmed to fill a vacancy occurring during a term shall be nominated and confirmed only for the remainder of such term. An individual nominated and confirmed as a member of the public may serve in such position after the expiration of such member’s term until the earlier of the time at which the member’s successor takes office or the time at which a report of the Board is first issued under paragraph (2) after the expiration of the member’s term. The Secretary of the Treasury shall be the Managing Trustee of the Board of Trustees (hereinafter in this title called the “Managing Trustee”). The Deputy Commissioner of Social Security shall serve as Secretary of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall meet not less frequently than once each calendar year. It shall be the duty of the Board of Trustees to—
(1) Hold the Trust Funds;
(2)[11] Report to the Congress not later than the first day of April of each year on the operation and status of the Trust Funds during the preceding fiscal year and on their expected operation and status during the next ensuing five fiscal years;
(3) Report immediately to the Congress whenever the Board of Trustees is of the opinion that the amount of either of the Trust Funds is unduly small;

(4) Recommend improvements in administrative procedures and policies designed to effectuate the proper coordination of the old-age and survivors insurance and Federal-State unemployment compensation program; and
(5) Review the general policies followed in managing the Trust Funds, and recommend changes in such policies, including necessary changes in the provisions of the law which govern the way in which the Trust Funds are to be managed.

Now I am not saying that this clear violation of law on the part of the Trustees and by extension the President is some sort of ‘High Crime and Misdimeanor’. On the other hand you would think the minimum necessary would be SOME accouncement of the very fact of the delay and maybe some hint as to when the Report would be released. Instead current practice is just to have it come out when it comes out, as if this Report, which BTW is coincident with the Report of Medicare, is just some minor program like a Beef Advisory Board. Rather than a program whose costs amount to 5% of GDP (from Social Security alone).

When the Report does release you will be able to find it here: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/tr/ and of course summarized and excerpted at Angry Bear. Hopefully sometime before the statutory release date of the NEXT one. In the meantime I guess this can be treated as a Social Security Open Thread.