Here are but a few examples:
Generally, people who work for more than 35 years get a lower net benefit - all other factors being equal. People who don't live long after retirement age get a much lower net benefit. (These people include men, the obese, and people with health problems related to environment or heredity.) Finally, people who derive a high percentage of income from non-wage sources get high Social Security net benefits because they appear to be "poor," when they are not. The progressive benefit formula for Social Security is blind to the income a worker may have from non-wage sources, such as spousal support, dividends and interest, or rental income.
If you count the $17 billion in income taxes expected to be paid on Social Security benefits, the system will still manage to provide a slight surplus for federal coffers in fiscal 2009. But from 2010 through 2012, there are small projected deficits, and after heading back into the black from 2013 to 2015, the program will then become a growing drain on federal finances, projects the [Congressional Budget Office].
Social Security, which Bush has hoisted atop his domestic agenda, is $3.7 trillion short of what it will need for benefits over the next 75 years, under the latest federal projections. Medicare, the health care program for the elderly, must find an estimated $27.8 trillion.
By 2018, Social Security is on track to start paying more annually to recipients than it collects in payroll taxes — an ominous tipping point that Medicare reached last year.
While Social Security is expected to exhaust its reserves in 2042, Medicare should deplete the trust fund financing its hospital benefits in 2019, the latest forecasts show.
Self-esteem be damned, I give public schools an F.Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we've let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us. ... We've accepted failure for far too long.
Update: And one more epic failure I somehow forgot to mention -- Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Lost billions and helped foment the housing bubble. Plagued by scandal. Failures of massive proportion.