Here's How The Social Security Administration Really Hopes To Save Itself

It would be correct to say:

“What is good for Social Security is good for America”.

Some of the variables include:

-Rising GDP
-Modest inflation
-Expanding employment (low unemployment)
-Worker productivity
-Rising population

SSA evaluates the prospects for the variables and produces a forecast. They create three alternative cases. They call them the Intermediate and the High/Low cost assumptions. That’s a bit murky. A better description might be:

Intermediate = What we are hoping/assuming will happen.
High Cost = Bad News!
Low Cost = Break out the Champagne!

Now consider how SSA looks at the highly emotive issue of illegal immigration/undocumented workers. SSA refers to this group in the PC way as “others”. This from the SSA 2010 report to Congress, page 84.


Note that the “What We’re Expecting” case has illegal immigration at 400,000 per year for the next decade. The “Let’s Party!” case has the average over 500k. Heaven forbid that illegal workers fall to only 200k per year. That would be the “Worst Case” outcome. Looking at this one has to wonder what would happen if illegal immigration fell to zero. Clearly if 550k is the good news then zero must be very bad news.

So it is not always correct that what is good for SSA is good for the USA. It makes me wonder about those other categories where the interests appear to line up but actually to do not.

As a mature economy we can only achieve high rates of growth with significant expansion of debt at every level. Consumers, corporations, cities, towns, states and of course the Feds all have to borrow and spend more if we are going to have the growth that SSA (and all other public and private entitlements) so desperately needs.

Debt = Growth
Growth = Good, therefore,
Debt = Good

Our dependence on illegal immigration to sustain growth is not unlike our need for debt to fire the engines. But like illegal immigration, debt/growth has a dark side to it. If you want evidence of that fact just consider what Bernanke is going to unleash on us. Yes he might achieve some growth with his QE-2. But what is the real cost for that growth?

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