Reading the 2014 Social Security Report: Released July 28

The Countdown is ON!

(Update 2: It’s out, links work. See you in Comments)

(Update for Post Publication) If things go as scheduled the 2014 Report of the Trustees of Social Security will be released to the web at 12:15 Easter or less than two hours from the time this post published. Assuming the same continuity in URLs between Reports as we saw the last few years the liks below should go immediately live. Until then of course they are dead and for that matter untested. If by chance they remain broken eager beavers can go right to the main page of the Reports and link from there: . Or not, since that page was down just a second ago, possibly for updating. One way or another you will have linkage soon after noon.

The 2014 Report of the Trustees of Social Security is scheduled to be released at 12:15PM Eastern, or 15 minutes after the scheduled publication time of this post. Assuming that the file name conventions of past Reports are maintained each of the following links should come alive coincident with the public release of the Report in DC, at least in past years the release to the web has been instantaneous. But I guess we will see, and I will be testing and editing links as necessary.

The full Report is released in HTML and PDF. Those who want to read the Report in leisure can download it in PDF here: 2014 Social Security Report. On the other hand those who want to share impressions immediately would do better to work from the HTML version and its breakout of all the relevant Tables and Figures. 2014 Social Security Report linkable HTML version

Those readers who prefer their Reports unmediated feel free to dive in to either format. But for those who want some pointers as to valuable places to start and/or pointers on what those various Tables and Figures are trying to say can follow me below the fold.

First thing to know is that all the various Tables and Figures are linked from the following pages:
2014 Social Security Report: List of Tables
2014 Social Security Report: List of Figures
So once again feel free to dive in.

But if we had to break some stuff out we might begin with some top line numbers like Date of Trust Fund Exhaustion. Which while not as important as one would think is generally the point chose as ‘Crisis’, the date the Trust Funds can no longer fully fund Scheduled Benefits. While most people don’t quite grasp the implications of the event a lot of the MSM reporting revolves around its TIMING, as in whether ‘Crisis’ is closer or farther away. So for whatever it is worth that date can be found here:

Table II.D1.—Projected Maximum Trust Fund Ratios During the Long-Range Period and Trust Fund Reserve Depletion Dates
But the date doesn’t actually tell us much, more important is the very next Table which does two important things. One it provides some numbers for the magnitude of ‘Crisis’ in terms of the percentage of payroll shortage between ‘Scheduled’ and ‘Payable’ benefits for the past Report and the new one. And two it breaks out the reasons for change between the two. For example is the change totally driven by changes in assumptions about future Demographics? Or largely by changes in Methodology? Or did the Office of the Actuary just biff on their past assumptions of near, medium and long term economic growth? Because the lessons you draw from the Report are going to vary a lot based on the combined answers to these questions.

Table II.D2.—Reasons for Change in the 75-Year Actuarial Balance, Based on Intermediate Assumptions
And maybe that is enough for now. I’ll have a lot to say based on my actual reading of the Report both in comments here and in future posts but perhaps it is best to allow some of you to watch the movie before I break in with spoilers and critical commentary. Enjoy!