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Social Security is primarily financed by a 12.4 percent payroll tax, split between employer and employee.
It pays monthly benefits to about 53 million Americans.
For 25 years, it has been taking in more than it has been paying out, and now has a $2.5 trillion reserve fund invested in government bonds.
This year, with the recession and high unemployment, less money has come in than anticipated, and the system has been drawing on the reserves.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the reserve fund and payroll taxes will cover full payment of benefits for another 33 years.
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