A First Look at the Social Security Trustee’s Report, and a Story About My Mom’s Dog

The new Social Security Trustee’s report just came out. I’m not even going to touch it – I’m confident that Bruce Webb and Dale Coberly, both of whom have comments here at Angry Bear regularly, and have posts here on occasion as well, will eventually go through it and write something up. There’s no question they know this material much better than I.

Bruce did send a quick e-mail, quoting from the report’s summary:

The annual cost of Social Security benefits represented 4.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007 and is projected to increase to 6.1 percent of GDP in 2035, and then decline to 5.8 percent of GDP by 2048 and remain at that level. The projected 75-year actuarial deficit in the combined Old-Age and Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Fund is 1.70 percent of taxable payroll ($4.3 trillion in present value terms), down from 1.95 percent projected in last year’s report. This decrease is due primarily to changes in projection methods.

Bruce’s comment:

Wow, a decrease in payroll gap of a full .25 points and 75 year actuarial deficit down from $4.7 to $4.3 trillion.

Something about the Trustee’s Reports that come out every year make me think of a dog my Mom had when I was a kid. When I was a kid and my family was living in Brazil, my Mom got a puppy. A month later, the dog got sick and we were told the dog wasn’t going to last. A couple months later, the dog was dying of something else. Every few months, the dog came down with something, and she just wasn’t going to survive. The process continued for many years. The dog, who would travel more than most people and live in 3 different cities in 2 different continents, eventually died at age 14, which is pretty old for a big dog.