Battlepanda: Don't blame the boomers


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Don't blame the boomers

(Via Max)

We all have those assumptions we take for granted without ever thinking about. If you're like me, one of those was, "Social Security solvency has been deteriorating in the past few decades because Americans are living longer." Well scratch that assumption, because it ain't true.

* The deterioration in the 75-year actuarial balance of Social Security that has occurred since 1983 has been caused overwhelmingly by economic developments, trends in disability incidence, and programmatic changes to Social Security. [Not the famous decline in the ratio of workers-to-retirees, a decline that was fully anticipated in 1983. -- MaxSpeak]

* Sixty percent of the current shortfall would be eliminated by a reversal of two adverse economic trends that have emerged since 1983: sluggish growth in average (real) wages and erosion of the [payroll] tax base due to rapid growth in the inequality of earnings.

* Reversing the demographic change most commonly identified with placing strain on the Social Security system -- declining mortality rates -- would eliminate less than 5% of the current shortfall.

So, don't blame the baby boomers for being baby boomers, or for living too long. The decline in SS solvency since 1983 has got nothing to do with them. And besides, I've always found it distasteful when folks who have worked hard all their lives and paid into SS with every paycheck are now resented as burdens on the next generation.