Its actuaries have been blowing the calculations, and there is no “buffer.”
This column went up at FrontPageMag.com with minor revisions early Tuesday morning.
At first, one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry at research findings reported by two Ivy League profs in a co-authored column in the Sunday New York Times titled “Social Security: It’s Worse Than You Think.”
Actually, white-hot anger is more appropriate, given that what Gary King, a professor of government and director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard, and Samir S. Soneji, a demographer and assistant professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, really told us, namely that the New Deal-era retirement system, thanks to its use of ossified actuarial calculations, is more insolvent than almost all of us knew.
The pair’s core finding, as presented in the Times: “[T]he Social Security Administration underestimates how long Americans will live and how much the trust funds will need to pay out — to the tune of $800 billion by 2031.”
Ohioans can give thanks this week for at least one thing: Former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland has announced that won’t be challenging incumbent John Kasich in 2014. During 2008 and 2009, Strickland’s second and third years in office, the Buckeye State lost 420,000 jobs and saw its unemployment rate zoom from 5.7 percent to 10.6 percent, performances which were worse than nearly every other state in the union. In his final two years, the state ran billions in deficits which the rest of America covered by providing at least $4.8 billion in “direct relief” stimulus fuding. As he left office, Ohio faced an estimated $8 billion budget deficit and credit agencies downgraded its credit rating.
None of these facts about Ted Strickland’s record got into Alexander Burns’s Tuesday coverage of Strickland’s decision at the Politico. Instead, readers were treated to a narrative which made Strickland’s fundamentally deceptive attempt to keep his job in the 2010 election seem almost heroic (bolds are mine):
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From Vatican City:
Vatican City, Jan 7, 2013 / 09:10 am
Pope Benedict reflected on the Magi as “men with a restless heart” during his homily for Epiphany at St. Peter’s Basilica Jan. 6, in a Mass at which he consecrated four new bishops.
“They were filled with expectation, not satisfied with their secure income and their respectable place in society. They were looking for something greater…They wanted to know how we succeed in being human,” the Pope said.
“They wanted to understand the truth about ourselves and about God and the world,” he added. “Their outward pilgrimage was an expression of their inward journey, the inner pilgrimage of their hearts.”
“They were men who sought God and were ultimately on the way towards him. They were seekers after God.”
The Magi were the first in a pilgrimage of the Gentiles to Christ, Pope Benedict said, and the consecration of bishops at Epiphany is appropriate because a bishop’s role is to lead the way in pilgrimage to Christ.
A bishop “must be gripped by God’s concern for men and women…like the Wise Men from the East,” the pontiff explained.
He noted that bishops must also be men of faith, for “faith draws us into a state of being seized by the restlessness of God and it makes us pilgrims who are on an inner journey towards the true King of the world.”
The Magi are an example for the new prelates because they were men of “the courage and humility born of faith.” The Pope recalled how they must have been derided by their contemporaries, as bishops so often are today.
Similarly, “the courage to contradict the prevailing mindset is particularly urgent for a Bishop today. He must be courageous…allowing oneself to be struck and to be steadfast before” a worldly way of thinking. …
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