Do not look at the liability behind that curtain! Or: Do not mention that we don’t know what the liabilities are.
Some things are too painful to report.
The folks who audit the Social Security Administration are late on a set of reports. The reports in question account for the financial and actuarial (un)soundness of Social Security, specifically on the (un)funded liabilities of the pension system and Medicare.
Unlike corporations, which are required to report to the IRS on March 15 each year, and individuals, who must report on April 15, there’s no set date for the trustees of our federal government’s biggest program to make its report. But in recent years the reports have been published early enough to allow summary by May. The last report summary we have is for 2009.
Why so late?
Could it be that things have gotten so bad that it’s difficult to figure out — and embarrassing to sign one’s name to — the actual financial situation? After all, this year Social Security ran out of money to write checks for its promised (and quite immediate) pay-outs.
Sheila Weinberg, CEO of the Institute for Truth in Accounting, writes that she heard the reports were late because “trustees wanted to include the effect the health care bill had on these liabilities.” Ms. Weinberg not unreasonably challenges this rationale. Wouldn’t Social Security’s liabilities have been worth knowing before Congress committed to more entitlement spending?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.