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U.S. Social Security Reform: The Clock Is Ticking

CHICAGO, April 20 (Reuters) - Can you count on your Social Security benefits when retirement rolls around?

Most Americans worry about this - partly due to the nonsense they hear from political opponents of Social Security and ill-informed media. You will hear that the program is bankrupt, its reserves are nothing but a bunch of IOUs, or that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

All of those claims are false, but there is one good reason for concern. Social Security faces a long-term financial imbalance that would force sharp benefit cuts in 2034 unless the government makes changes. The problem stems from falling fertility rates and labor force growth - which reduces collection of payroll taxes that fund the system - and also from the retirement of baby boomers, which increases benefit costs.

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