by Charles Blahous
e21: Economic Policies for the 21st Century
February 13, 2013
Last month the New York Times printed an op-ed piece (“Social Security: It’s Worse than You Think”) by professors Gary King of Harvard and Samir Soneji of Dartmouth. Their piece asserted that the Social Security actuaries’ methods for projecting mortality are “antiquated,” prone to “interference from political appointees,” and result in projections that underestimate the Social Security financing shortfall. The piece was accompanied by a graphic showing certain “crazy” demographic projections purportedly arising under current methods, for example that “everyone who happens to be 55–59 in 2028 would die.” Despite the author’s own concerns about Social Security finances, he does not find the allegations printed in the Times to be persuasive. This article presents some reasons as to why, in addition to some basic background information about the trustees’ projection process.