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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Post Goes Into Overdrive In Its Social Security Scare Campaign

The Post Goes Into Overdrive In Its Social Security Scare Campaign

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Monday, 22 August 2011 04:27

Showing once again why it is known as "Fox on 15th Street," the Washington Post headlined an article "Social Security crisis is worsening." The subhead told readers, "rise in disability applications driving it to the verge of insolvency."

Those who read the article carefully will discover that the "it" being driven to insolvency is the Social Security disability program, which is a bit more than one-tenth of the combined retirement, survivors and disability program that people usually think of as "Social Security." The latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office show that the combined program will be fully solvent until 2038.

Even after this date, the program will still be able to pay 81 percent of scheduled benefits. Alternatively, if taxes were raised enough to make the program fully solvent, the necessary tax increase is equal to about 5 percent of projected wage growth over the next three decades. The Post doesn't like to make these points because it doesn't advance its agenda for cutting Social Security. 

Comments (6)Add Comment
Impugn Not Thy Motives Lest Thy Motives Be Impugned, Low-rated comment [Show]
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written by foosion, August 22, 2011 8:45
The reason that SS is not fully solvent forever is that the Greenspan commission underestimated the growth in income inequality. They estimated that SS taxes would cover 90% of all income. If that were correct, SS would be fine. Unfortunately, the cap they set (now $106,000) only covers 83% of income, not 90%, because the top few percent of earners capture a much larger share of the national income pie.
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written by diesel, August 22, 2011 4:06
"There was not an issue of net job creation, unless Cantor thinks that non-union workers are less efficient so that it takes more of them to build a plane."

Thanks for the laugh, Dean.
Foosion
written by Union Member, August 22, 2011 6:38

Thanks Foosion.

Shouldn't the points you make be included in the fourth or fifth paragraph of any responsible journalist's piece covering deficit reduction, the unsustainability of Social Security, or (and especially when referencing Greenspan) the epic Housing Bubble.
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written by Jay S., August 23, 2011 2:57
"The latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office show that the combined program will be fully solvent until 2038."

I'm confused - can someone explain why, if this is so, Social Security would not have had sufficient funds to make SS payments if the debt ceiling agreement had been reached? Even Obama said SS payments could not be guaranteed. Either the funds are there or they're not.
Washington Nationals
written by Washington Nationals, August 26, 2011 10:31

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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