Earlier this month, the annual reports of the Social Security andMedicare Trustees (I am one) were released. This piece is one of two that I will author for e21 on the annual reports. In this first one I will focus on process, concepts and essential findings of the reports. In the second piece I will summarize quantitative determinations with respect to program finances. Essentially, this will be the concepts piece, while the next will deliver the numbers.
Who the Trustees are: There are six Trustees, always including the current Secretary of the Treasury (the Managing Trustee), the Secretary of HHS, the Secretary of Labor, and the Social Security Commissioner. There are also two Public Trustees, including one Democrat (Dr. Robert Reischauer) and one Republican (me). The two Public Trustees are nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and serve four-year terms. The Public Trustee positions were established by the 1983 Social Security amendments so that two external pairs of eyes would review and vouch for the financial projections, to substantiate public confidence in them.