I heard some amazing stuff today on NPR (which, despite it's flaws is still one of the only decent news sources we have left). A story
by John Ydstie (that is not how I would have guessed his name is spelled) about the social security report that came out today. He mentions how social security is now projected to have a $4 trillion deficit over the next 75 years. Now it seems to me that economists have a hard enough time projecting things out 6 months much less 75 years, but there it is. He then quotes Treasury Secretary Snow emphasizing a different more 'controversial' number:
The unfunded obligation looking out over the long time horizon on a permanent basis is $11.1 trillion.
Hmmmmm. . .what exactly is the 'long time horizon' and what does 'permanent basis' mean? It turns out, as Ydstie goes on to explain, that the projection which generates that number is the 'infinite future!' And you thought 75 years was a long time! That's nothing, apparently the government can make projections into infinity! But wait, it gets even better. Among the assumptions used to make that projection are that life expectancy increases to 150 years, but the retirement age stays at 67. Whoa! Talk about being born too early! Who knew that we were headed for a utopian world where we all live to be 150 and retirement lasts 83 years!
So for our society to endure infinitely with more than half our lives spent in retirement we would only have to pony up $11.1 trillion more? Seems like a hell of a deal, sign me up!
But that wasn't even the most amazing part of the story as we all know that whatever dribbles out of the mouths of the Bushies is going to be bullshit anyway. After pointing out that Medicare is in much worse shape than Social Security, Ydstie says:
So far the Bush administration has not put forward a plan to restore solvency to either the Social Security or Medicare trust funds. The President's proposal for private Social Security accounts would do nothing to improve the solvency of the retirement system.
I had to slap myself to see if I was awake. Did I just hear a reporter say, straight up, that Bush has no plan and private accounts won't fix Social Security?
Like I said, amazing stuff.