Posted BY: Brenton Smith
Social Security Trust Funds have squandered billions of dollars on an antiquated investment policy.
That loss tells us a lot about the financial crisis coming to Social Security.
In 2019, Social Security lost roughly $1 billion because the system invests the excess reserves at exactly the wrong minute of the year. Any other day or any minute early in the day saves the program money.
It is 2023, and the beat goes on. Over the course of 2022, Social Security redeemed more than $100 billion in high-yield debt and lost nearly $5 billion in interest earnings in the process. The program just gave it away.
Here is the problem: Social Security generally needs cash to pay its bills in the back half of the year. Unfortunately, the program locks up all its loose cash on June 30. So, starting July 1, the program needs to redeem bonds, and the Treasury Department picks the wrong bonds for redemption based on a policy that literally dates back to the era of black-and-white TV.
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To illustrate, in November, Social Security needed extra cash to pay the bills, and redeemed nearly $100 billion in bonds at par, which earned 4 percent interest. At the same time, it kept bonds that pay less than 1 percent on the books. Given the process, the program lost nearly $2 billion in interest.