* Nothing, other than combining the Old-Age and Survivors’ Insurance and Disability Insurance plans, that is.
The House Budget Republicans calculated what will happen to the Social Security benefits of those near retirement if the Social Security Trustees’ 2010 intermediate case is right and the combined OASDI “Trust Funds” are exhausted in 2037. At that point, the payroll taxes will pay for just 78% of scheduled benefits. They included a handy table of the cuts to the benefits of those who are now between 55 and 62 years old:
Of course, that assumes that Social Security does make it to 2037. In order for that to happen, not only does the assumption have to be right when recent assumptions have proven to be exceptionally rosy, but somewhere around $8 trillion in nominal dollars will need to be found to monetize the “Trust Funds”. There’s not so much as $0.01 available in cash to do that, so that represents an addition to the publicly-held debt, and $5.5 trillion of that represents future additions to the total debt (the $2.5 trillion in the “Trust Funds” now is part of the total debt, but not the public debt).