Iraq Goes Pear-Shaped
Odysseus: Grace Under Pressure

Social Security Actuarial Balance in Historical Perspective

[Paul Krugman] sends us to:

2008 Trustees Report: Appendix B, Historical actuarial balance estimates

And comments:

Paul Krugman: I think the key message is what has happened to the estimate of actuarial balance -- the difference between projected outlays and projected revenues over the next 75 years. This is the thing that is supposed to get steadily worse as time goes by, as the 75-year window contains ever fewer years in which the baby boomers are in the work force, paying payroll taxes, and ever more years when the boomers are out of the work force and collecting benefits.

In fact, however, the actuarial balance has been improving rather than worsening. It is now better than it has been since 1993. What this tells us is that projections made in the mid-to-late 1990s were, in the light of subsequent revisions, way too pessimistic.