No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

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Another look at the mid-term Social Security crater

by @ 22:41 on February 3, 2010. Filed under Social Security crater.

(H/Ts – Dad29 and Hot Air Headlines)

Back in September, Ed Morrissey found, and I expanded upon, a dire look at the Social Security “Trust” Funds from the Congressional Budget Office that said the combined OASDI “Trust” funds would start running primary (cash) deficits in FY2010 and run them for much of the decade. Allan Sloan over at Fortune found some worse news in the January 2010 CBO budget outlook:

Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation’s biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing — in other words, a taxpayer bailout.

No one has officially announced that Social Security will be cash-negative this year. But you can figure it out for yourself, as I did, by comparing two numbers in the recent federal budget update that the nonpartisan CBO issued last week.

The first number is $120 billion, the interest that Social Security will earn on its trust fund in fiscal 2010 (see page 74 of the CBO report). The second is $92 billion, the overall Social Security surplus for fiscal 2010 (see page 116).

This means that without the interest income, Social Security will be $28 billion in the hole this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30….

If you go to the aforementioned pages in the CBO update and consult the tables on them, you see that the budget office projects smaller cash deficits (about $19 billion annually) for fiscal 2011 and 2012. Then the program approaches break-even for a while before the deficits resume….

I did so, and just like in September, I found some rather “curious” claims of economic boom. In fact, the new “boom” is even more unbelievable than the old “boom” (note; the September 2009 CBO GDP estimates come from summer 2009 budget update).


Click for the full-size chart

Between this fiscal year and FY2019, instead of a cumulative Social Security primary deficit of $100 billion, we’ll have a cumulative Social Security primary deficit of $157 billion. That is, of course, if we actually do get all the economic and tax growth that the CBO seems to hope we will. If we don’t, the chart I put together back in September showing just how easy it was to turn the CBO’s hope into red ink as far as the eye can see will be rosy.

That also doesn’t include Obama’s plan for a second round of $250 checks to every Social Security recipient. That is a drag of another $13 billion on this year, which would make this year’s cash deficit somewhere around $51 41 billion.

Revisions/extensions (4:42 pm 2/4/2010) - The internal copy editor failed me, as I made a basic math mistake. Thanks to Hot Air commenter WashJeff for the catch once Ed Morrissey made the news a front page post.

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