Most Americans may not even realize there's a role in government for public trustees of
"The public really doesn't have a representative sitting at the table with the government officials, and I think that is concerning," said
The public trustees — one Republican, one Democrat — are usually economists or retirement experts. They join four other trustees who are senior political appointees — the secretaries of the
Public trustees require
Trustees serve for four years, and their terms can be extended. Toward the end of his administration, Obama re-nominated the incumbent public trustees for a second term. But with 2016 elections approaching, the
Nonetheless Treasury Secretary
"The administration's economic agenda — tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements— will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path," he added.
Public trustees fulfill "a piercing and profound purpose" as "knowledgeable private citizens empowered with information to make a declaration to their fellow citizens," he added.
Several former public trustees said they were generally able to set aside ideological differences while working with career staff at
Those estimates are built from moving parts such as economic growth, life expectancy, hospital costs, births, immigration, disability rates and the introduction of new drugs and technologies.
Ultimately the only leverage public trustees have is to withhold their signatures from the final report.
Without public trustees, professionals at
"There's going to be a hard landing, and I don't have any confidence the way