Social Security: Michael Barone’s Crystal Ball

Michael Barone decides he needs to attack Sheryl Crow – well in a NRO post hidden safely in his basement:

We have a pretty good idea of how many Americans will turn 62 and start collecting Social Security in 2068, because they’ve all been born, and we can estimate with near certainty how many will die then and, with a bigger but tolerable margin of error, how many will immigrate from foreign countries. The Social Security Trustees’ report issued on April 23 paints a pretty clear picture.

We can estimate all of the relevant factors with near certainty? Then why do we bother with three scenarios? Then again, Barone has trouble reading any of these forecasts:

Social Security costs will exceed Social Security revenues by 2017. That’s a big problem, because for years Social Security revenues – FICA taxes – have been far greater than the cost of benefits, and so those monies have in effect been spent on other federal programs. But roundabout 2017 – that’s just ten years away – we’ll have to dip into other revenues, or borrow or increase taxes, to pay Social Security recipients.

Maybe Mr. Barone did not see that table showing that the Social Security Trust Fund balances will be between 300% and 500% of annual payouts in 2017 depending on which scenario one uses. That’s a big problem?