Social Security: The Washington Post and Senator Clinton

Over at EconoSpeak, I criticized the WaPo coverage of something Hillary Clinton said about Social Security:

she noted, the insolvency date has moved from 2055 to 2041.

I do not trust anything the Washington Post says either about Social Security or about what the Senator has to try. I do trust Dean Baker:

During the last debate for the Democratic presidential candidates Senator Clinton was asked about Social Security. In her response she made the obviously true statement that the key to dealing with the problem is to maintain a strong economy. (The issue is supporting retirees, if we have a strong economy we can do this, if the economy is in bad shape, then this is a problem regardless of what we do with Social Security). She also made the somewhat confused assertion that the projected date for the SS Trust Fund’s depletion had been pushed back to 2055 under the Clinton I administration. (I think that she may have been referring to the first set of projections for SS put out by CBO, which put the date of depletion at 2052.) While the economy did experience healthy growth in the last four years of the Clinton administration, and the projected date of trust fund depletion actually was pushed back several years by the SS trustees, this was actually due to a cut in benefits, not more rapid economic growth.

So where did the Washington Post get the 2041? Robert Greenstein has an explanation. As I wrote:

The year when the Trust Fund is expected to be exhausted is indeed 2041 but that compares to a prediction from the 1997 report that the predicted year of exhaustion was 2029. Also notice that the “year costs exceed tax revenue and interest” is predicted to be 2027 – well after the next President Clinton leaves office.