Social Security currently is projected to be able to pay full benefits until around 2039, at which point current projections say it will start only paying seniors around 80 percent of what they should be getting. One would think having a program projected to be on a solid footing for the next 30 years would be more than sufficient for anyone.

For some reason though, Republican politicians, Democratic politicians, cranky old reprobates appointed by Obama, and beltway pundits are actually claiming this is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with NOW because they think the program must have a full 75 years of projected solvency.

Of course, the entire principle premise on which these demands is based is beyond absurd. To even be able to achieve their stated goal, you must first confidently assume we can, with a fairly high degree of accuracy, predict over 60 years into the future. Any scientist or, better yet, science fiction writer would find that idea truly laughable.

The number of conceivable events that could happen by 2070 that would totally throw off any current Social Security budget projections are too numerous to count.

  • The growing Hispanic vote could result in the country, starting around 2018, adopting a much more open immigration policy, so resulting in a massive surge in new, young, immigrant workers paying taxes.
  • Several cures for serious, age-related diseases found in 2030 could in a matter of a few years add an average of 20 years to our life spans.
  • The passage of the 2022 “pro-motherhood act” that, among other things, heavily subsidizes paternity leave and child care, could cause, by 2038, a modest but significant 20 percent increase in the number of children born to American women.
  • The 2024 health care reform law could finally control health care costs, ending middle-class wage stagnation for most Americans, producing higher payroll tax revenues.
  • Epidemics caused by drug-resistant bacteria in 2020 could kill a disproportionally large number of seniors.
  • A breakthrough in high-energy-density electronic capacitors in 2023 could cause an electronic car explosion, slashing world oil use by 2035. Combined with global warming dramatically increasing the demand for American food, the result is America starts running a massive trade surplus.
  • As a result of World War III in 2039, America ends up losing several major cities, but also soon admits dozens of countries with large youth populations as states into the union.
  • Advances in gene-therapy and nanotechnology could, by 2050, start allowing us to practically rebuild our entire bodies at a cellular level, radically changing the entire concept of “retirement” as people gain the ability to live centuries with the body of a 25 year old.
  • By around 2060, the exponential growth in computing power could result in humanity reaching the technological singularity giving us almost god-like powers to control ourselves and our environments to an extent that is unimaginable.

Sure, a few may sound outlandish, but would anyone have predicted in 1950 that, by 2010, millions would be carrying around super computers in their pockets that could anywhere at anytime access basically any piece of information, news article, music, movie, or TV show that exists?

The point is accurately predicting this distant a future is impossible. Any 75-year projection of Social Security solvency is based heavily on trying to guess how much in taxes will be paid by people fifty years from now, when many of those people who will be paying taxes won’t even be born for another few decades.

What politicians claim they are trying to achieve with any plan to “strengthen” Social Security is a make-believe goal that isn’t even really achievable.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at