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Group calls out Trump’s Social Security whopper

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A Washington policy group has called out former President Donald Trump on his plan to use U.S. oil revenue to save the nation’s Social Security program.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that Trump’s plan wouldn’t come up with nearly enough money to help the troubled entitlement program.

Trump said during a Fox News town hall on Monday that “incredible wealth under our feet” in the form of domestic oil and gas could prevent Social Security’s insolvency.

“Dedicating current oil and gas leasing revenues to Social Security would cover less than 4% of its shortfall, and it would be impossible to fix Social Security even if all federal land were opened to drilling operations,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget noted in a post on Thursday.

The Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue pegged oil and gas revenues for U.S. federal lands, federal waters, and Native American lands at $20 billion in fiscal year 2022.

“Even the entirety of estimates for U.S. oil and natural gas proved reserves – including from both federal lands and privately-owned lands – total less than $5 trillion in value (at today’s oil and natural gas prices), which is just a fraction of Social Security’s 75-year present value shortfall of over $22 trillion,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget noted.

In March, the Social Security Administration reported that Social Security won’t have enough money to pay all beneficiaries the amount they are entitled to starting in 2034, a year earlier than previously expected as the program’s benefits have grown faster than its income. At that time, the annual cost of the program was projected to exceed the annual income in 2023 and remain higher for the 75-year projection period. The total cost of the program started to eclipse income in 2021. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees’ annual report to Congress.

The Social Security Board of Trustees in March asked Congress to address the “projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely fashion to phase in necessary changes gradually,” Acting Commissioner of Social Security Kilolo Kijakazi said at the time.

Total income, including interest, to the combined Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds was $1.222 trillion in 2022. Total expenditures from the combined trust funds were $1.244 trillion in 2022.

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