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Judy Miller takes over the Social Security Beat at The World's Greatest Newspaper (not!)

Remember that keen infographic Izvestia did on "THE SCARY DEFICIT"? Well, garbage in, garbage out. HuffPo (via Digby) points out, the Times says that Social Security is going to run a deficit in 2015 when in fact the official projections show it generating a surplus of $151 billion. Ignorant, or lying? Who said those were mutually exclusive?

Anyhow, you can always write the so-called Public Editor. I just did.

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JG's picture
Submitted by JG on

I actually think that the Times has this right. Quoting from the PDF version:

This analysis treats Social Security as part of the total federal budget. Social Security is projected to run a deficit by 2015 and to exhaust its trust fund by 2037. (The deficit commission treated the program separately, with its own deficit to close.)

There are two ways of looking at Social Security and the Trust Fund: either the Trust Fund is real, and Social Security's budget should be balanced separately from the rest of the budget, or it is accounting fiction, and Social Security's budget should be incorporated into the overall budget. In order to simplify the infographic, the Times took the latter approach. One of the consequences of this approach is that interest payments to Social Security are simply the government paying itself and you can't call that part of Social Security's surplus without separating Social Security from the rest of the budget.

Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

a separate accounting entity, fully funded until 2037, and at that point may have to reduce payouts to 80%, NOT a bankruptcy figure (and THAT can be fixed by raising the cut-off income figure (from approximately $100,000), to cover 90% of the outlay, as was done in Eisenhower's time) "Accounting fiction", "Ponzi scheme", etc, are neo-con labels and constructs that serve to fallaciously support Pete Peterson's attack on our only viable social safety net.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

Cutting SS to fix the deficit is like invading Iraq to capture Bin Ladin.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

People paid money into the trust fund. If there is no money in the trust fund then it means someone stole that money. If there is no trust fund in 2017, that means someone stole 35 years worth of payments made by millions and millions of people. Thirty-five freakin' years!