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

Social Security: Solvency, (Unfunded) Liability, Debt & Crisis (Part One)

By law the Annual Social Security Report is due by April 1. But as in every year for the last decade this deadline was missed and of course without explanation or excuse, leaving Social Security hobbyists like me whimpering. Luckily there are not a lot of SocSec fanboys and fangirls. It might be a club […]

CRS: Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Very interesting paper that I missed in real time. Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? Almost everyone who addresses this question assumes that the answer is pretty simple: if either of the Social Security Trust Funds goes to zero than benefits will automatically drop from ‘Scheduled’ to ‘Payable’ which translates […]

Social Security: Cost, Solvency, Debt and TF Ratio

The Table above is extracted from Table VI.F9 in the 2013 Annual Report of Social Security. It is radically simplified because I want to make a very simple set of points, ones that have little or nothing to do with the proper policy approach to Social Security or to the adequacy of the model that […]

Social Security under ‘Sustainable Solvency’: Debt & Deficit Revisited

The current Chief Actuary of Social Security is Stephen Goss and on the occasion of the publication of the 75th Anniversary issue of the Social Security Bulletin he contributed what may be the most valuable single piece you will ever read on Social Security financials. The article carried the title The Future Financial Status of […]

Fed Treasury Holdings, ‘Real Debt’ and ‘Real Debt Service’

It is not difficult to determine a dollar figure for Total U.S. Public Debt. In fact you have to round UP from the Treasury’s Debt to the Penny and Who Holds it web application which tracks that number daily. As of end of business Thursday that total was $17,472,051,696,926.14. Which is a lot of money […]

Social Security: Trust Fund Ratios, Solvency and the Reagan ‘Raid’

What does or would it mean to say that Social Security was ‘solvent’? Under the rules that govern the Trustees of Social Security the test for any given year is pretty simple: did or will the year end with all obligations/cost met while still retaining assets equal to the next year’s cost. To determine this […]

Social Security: the Shape of Solvency

Well lets try again (two hours of draft having just disappeared)/ The above figure is II.D6 from the 2011 Social Security Report. The reasons why I didn’t use the 2013 version will become clear later, short version is it doesn’t show ‘The Shape of Solvency’ while the longer version is, well, long. This figure shows […]

NW Plan for Social Security: Abridged Spreadsheet

First attempt at putting the NW Plan 2012 into viewable form. This graphic compresses the original spreadsheet in both axes. I will be putting links to the full spreadsheet in comments because I am not sure this one will share correctly (I am bouncing between Google Accts) link. In any event the key columns are […]

CBO 2013 Economic Outlook: Soc Sec Trust Funds

By request of frequent AB commenter and SS contrarian Bruce Krasting. He claims vindication of claims from four years ago that the Trust Funds would top out at a much lower level than then estimated. And there is some support to be had here. Also lots of numbers and data points. I’ll have my say […]

Why "Looting" the Social Security Trust Funds is Both Legal AND Fair

Having hopefully gotten some attention with THAT post title, let me start dispelling some misconceptions and myths about the Social Security Trust Funds, some innocent and some disseminated with malice aforethought. A common narrative among the left is that the Social Security Trust Funds were established after the Greenspan Commission in 1983 to one) pre-fund […]