Sunday, November 18, 2007

Social Insecurity, Part II

The Washington Post just ran an editorial mindlessly repeating most of the misinformation criticized in the posting below. The basic points of the WaPo's wrong-headed argument are that (a) the Social Security system should subsidize the rest of government forever, and (b) a potential deficit in the distant future is more frightening than massive deficits today. After making multiple false (or at least questionable) assumptions, the WaPo estimates the Social Security "deficit" will be $4.7 trillion over the next 75 years.

Well, here are some facts that the Washington Post Editorial team will never mention while discussing the Social Security crisis they expect to destroy us all in 30 (or more) years:
  • In 2006, the federal government paid over $400 billion in interest on the existing debt (which now tops $9 trillion).
  • When Al Gore was running for president (and, technically, winning) against Dubya Bush only 7 years ago, both candidates agreed that the cumulative annual surpluses in the federal budget would total over $4.5 trillion by the year 2010.
In other words, the fiscal situation sucks today -- there is no need to project 50 years into the future to come up with a scary scenario.

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