In fact, however, the actuarial balance has been improving rather than worsening. It’s now better than it’s 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.
Kevin Drum dives into the number for an explanation:
Click here for the answer: Table IV.B9 has only one significant change from 2007: "Methods and programmatic data." And what might that entail?
Scroll down for the answer: immigrants. To be specific, better estimates of the taxes and benefits received by illegal immigrants — or, as the trustees refer to them, "other-immigrants":
...Bottom line: "This year's report results in [...] a substantial increase in the number of working-age individuals contributing payroll taxes, but a relatively smaller increase in the number of retirement-age individuals receiving benefits in the latter half of the long-range period." Give or take a bit, it turns out that this shores up the Social Security system to the tune of around $13 billion per year. Thanks, illegal immigrants!
First, since Bush was pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, one might wonder whether this is a politically motivated switch in methodology designed to promote Evil BushCo. One might wonder, that is, if one were other than Krugman or Drum; for those stalwarts, the numbers fit their agenda, so, politically motivated or not, it's all good.
And since we are thinking outside the box, let's conjure some other Federal initiatives that might help Social Security, as a complement the "no border enforcement, quasi employer enforcement" scheme that lets illegals come here and work illegally in exchange for payroll taxes not matchable to future benefits.
Just some ideas - a new "Thank You For Smoking" campaign should increase the number of people who make payroll tax payments their entire working life and then keel over of a heart attack or lung cancer on their 65th birthday. No benefits for them!
This can be supplemented with a bold "AIDS Unawareness" initiative; again, the idea is to kill 'em before they live to retire.
Worried that all these smokers and AIDS Unaware will drive up medical costs? Hey, not Social Security's problem (OK, except for disability), just as the other costs/benefits of illegal workers aren't showing up in these calculations.
But I hear you. So let's also ban seatbelts and airbags - that should result in a lot of quick kills, and a resultant Social Security windfall. Hmm, maybe we can ban windshield wipers too.
Say it with me - Thanks, illegal immigrants! Thanks, smokers! Thanks, crazy lovers and drivers! And thanks to the Federal statisticians who found the silver lining in the immigration status quo.
A BIZARRE AND UNEXPECTED "TO BE FAIR" MOMENT: Far be it from me to infer or imply that K Drum or P Krug are actually lauding the fleecing of illegals; K Drum is certainly entitled to a bit of sardonicism with his "Thank You". (Hmm, my vocabulariziation is struggling just now...).
I UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING EXCEPT WHY A DUCK: Longtime readers who remember "pgl" from his vivid commenting or keen map reading will see that he is blogging to his expected standard on this topic. Since he seems to be a trust fund fantasist I will offer him pearls and water (but I can't make him think...).