Bestest Day of the Year: SSRR Day

by Bruce Webb

What special holiday falls on March 31st? Yep is is Social Security Report Release Day. Now as I type it turns out that the Social Security Bunny (aka Commissioner Michael Astrue) has not actually delivered his special SS Egg, and gosh who knows, given that we are still in transition from the old Administration and that three of six Trustees’ spots are vacant SSRR Day may come late this year.

But just in case it comes today you can get your own copy from the Reports of the Trustees website in either PDF or in paper via paid first class mail. Plus there is an HTML version to which (if file name conventions stay the same) I have linked from my blog 2009 Report: Due March 31st

Update 2: A commenter reports that the release is probably going to come in mid-May. Which seems reasonable and hopefully will allow some adjustments for the bruising data that came in Q4 of last year and Q1 of this one and so get us a better data set. So I have moved the rest of this post below the fold.

The Report has been released as late as May 1st (that was mostly a matter of the Bush Administration trying to pressure the Senate into reconfirming the two Public Trustees for an unusual (maybe unprecedented) 2nd five year term in an apparent effort to keep privatization alive through the next President’s first term), but generally it is released without fanfare some time during the course of the day on March 31st.

The contents of the SSRR Day Basket may not be as yummy as those of the typical Easter Basket, if fact they are kind of dry. But I find them pretty tasty. Try it, you might like it.

If it comes before noon PST I’ll update this with numbers.

Update: there seems to be some advanced push back. Today the WaPo published this from Lori Montgomery Recession Puts a Major Strain On Social Security Trust Fund: As Payroll Tax Revenue Falls, So Does Surplus which is just a rehash of a piece by Kevin Hassett of AEI for Bloomberg yesterday Recession Bites Into Social Security’s Surplus. What they are doing is using a special definition of ‘surplus’. When Social Security surpluses are reported for Unified Budget purposes they include both any cash surplus from taxation plus interest earned on the Trust Fund. That is why people say Social Security was running $200 billion a year surpluses over the last few years. Hassett here is just using cash surpluses and moreover ignoring the fact that almost all the damage is a temporary hit on the DI Trust Fund. And the WaPo as always is just picking up the talking points and pushing them to the broader audience.

Dean Baker will not be pleased. He hasn’t posted at Beat the Press yet today, but I suspect Ms. Montgomery is in for a drubbing when he does.