The Trustees' Report

| Wed Mar. 23, 2005 12:06 PM EST

As I write this, the new Trustees' report on Social Security is being released. Early reports indicate "bad" news: namely, the year that the program starts paying out more in revenue than it receives in taxes has moved back from 2018 to 2017. Uh oh! Meanwhile, the year the Trust Fund is predicted to be exhausted, and hence when the program goes slightly—slightly—out of balance, has moved back from 2042 to 2041. Egad! Okay, so there's still no crisis, though the Trustees' are quite obviously trying to show that the system is getting sicker and sicker.

On the face of it, however, these new numbers seem quite ridiculous; we've had healthier than expected economic growth over the past year, so why would the Trustees now become more pessimistic than they were last year? Hm? These new projections couldn't have anything to do with the fact that five of the six Trustees' are pro-privatization hacks who might find it in their interest to perpetuate all this "crisis"-mongering, no? Oh surely not.

At any rate, read Matthew Yglesias' TAPPED post on this subject, laying out a lot of the issues here. The main point is that it's absurd to try to predict crisis and doom 75 years into the future. But more on this in a bit...

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