Before last year’s payroll tax cut, the system collected less in taxes than it paid out in benefits for the first time since 1983 — $49 billion less. As baby boomers begin to enter retirement, concerns that the program will no longer be able to support itself are growing, and they’re exacerbated by President Obama’s call to extend a temporary payroll tax cut beyond its Dec. 31st expiration date. In fact, as we approach an election year, it’s the one issue that seems to be utterly non-partisan: both Republicans and Democrats are worried that an extension will destroy our Social Security system, despite the affirmations of many budget experts that it will not.

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