The trust fund that pays for hospital insurance for patients of Medicare, the health-insurance scheme for the elderly, will run out of money by 2031; that is actually a reprieve from the previous estimate of 2028, because of the deadliness of covid-19. The fund that pays old-age benefits for Social Security, the state pension scheme, will be exhausted by 2033. These mandatory programmes are the behemoths of federal spending, costing $2.2trn (8.6% of GDP) in total in 2022. This already eclipses the total of the discretionary spending approved in the federal budget—including on housing, education and even defence—that causes so much argument on Capitol Hill.
- Date Posted:
- April 10, 2023
Today, three short years after the first spike in unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, American prime-age employment rates have fully recovered and even exceeded 2020 levels. It marks one of the most rapid, comprehensive, and broad-based labor market recoveries in US history, with the unemployment rate dropping from nearly 15% in April 2020 to near-historic-lows of 3.5% today. Across nearly every relevant age and demographic group, as many or more people are working today than in 2019. America’s employment rates have fallen well behind those in peer countries over the last two decades, and during the pandemic that gap has only increased. Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, and more saw smaller employment shocks from the initial effects of COVID and more rapid labor market expansions than the US over the last three years.