Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

CBO: SS Scheduled vs Payable Benefits (Rosser’s Equation illustrated)

by Bruce Webb CBO: SS Scheduled vs Payable Benefits (Rosser’s Equation illustrated) ‘Rosser’s Equation’ is something between an in-joke and tribute to Prof. Barkley Rosser, Jr of JMU, an economist friend of mine who pointed out a surprising result: real payable benefits after projected Trust Fund depletion and subsequent 25% cut will still be higher […]

Three definitions of Solvency for Social Security

Bruce Webb brings an interesting perspective to the current situation as pundits and politicians figure out ‘what is acceptable’ and what ‘they can live with’ her at AB and at his new website Social Security Defender: (see link below): Scheduled vs Payable Benefits: three definitions of Solvency As usual click to embiggen. When it comes […]

Social Security and the current fad of being balanced and comprehensive

Salon writer  Natasha Lennard reports that a sticking point around Social Security stalled ‘fiscal cliff’ back and forth rejoinders between the two parties, but also points out that the topic continues to be on the table (and has been offered by President Obama before these talks a couple years ago).   Notice both parties using the […]

Workers will have MORE money in their pockets AND will have paid for a longer retirement at a higher standard of living

There are a number of well thought out plans to handle the problems proposed by opponents of Social Security and also those concerned about its sustainability. To have our political and media debate confined to one item like chained-cpi should make any reasonable voter pause and wonder “Is that all? How dumb can we be?” […]

Steady State Social Security: What Would it Look LIke?

What would Social Security look like if it met all current law requirements for ‘solvency’? Well unfortunately we have to start with the most eye-glazing opening ever deployed: ‘first lets define our terms’. To which I would add ‘within an artificial economic model’. Because real life is messy, particularly right now, and that introduces unnecessary […]

Current Law Social Security: "Scheduled" vs "Payable" Benefits

Okay, more jargon. But important jargon because the policy proposals are starting from different baselines themselves defined by this jargon. So while some of the following is basic, it is equally a rhetorical (in the classical definition) baseline. Under current Social Security law future benefits are set by a formula. For a given individual this […]

The Cut Social Security Gang

Barkley Rosser at Econospeak opines on: Bill Keller Joins The Cut Social Security Gang In today’s New York Times, former editor Bill Keller has an especially obnoxious column about baby boomer entitlement. I am not going to dispute at all his listing of various selfishnesses that we baby boomers have indulged in from Gordon Gekko type […]

Social Security: Trust Funds, Actuarial Balance, Sustainable Solvency

Social Security arithmetic isn’t hard. Tedious perhaps and with counter-intuitive results but once certain terminological obstacles are swept away not requiring advanced math skills. But oy that terminology! This post proposes to start demolishing those conceptual barriers. Social Security is considered ‘solvent’ when its ‘Trust Fund’ is in ‘actuarial balance’. The Social Security Trust Fund […]

Why we don’t need to repay Social Security principal

{Cross posted from dKos Social Security Defenders group. Some parts will be pretty familiar to AB readers} You may have to bear with me here. Because very few people have seriously examined what a solvent Social Security system would actually look like. One of those that has is (thankfully) Steve Goss, the Chief Actuary of […]