Social Ponzi Insecurity In One Easy Chart

Where a million essays, debates, rants, and denials have been littered over the past month arguing whether or not Social Security is a ponzi or not, we believe one simple chart should suffice to explain to the reader just where we stand. As those who follow the data series know too well, outlays exceeded revenues in 2010 for the first time ever, for a backward looking basis, and so when applying CBO data on future SSTF revenues and outlays (as a % of taxable payrolls), using 10 year moving average data, for forward looking projections, outlays surpass revenues and basically never look back until at least the end of the century. In other words: this is a construct that relies exclusively on new capital coming in to keep it funded and from imploding under its own weight, something better known in literature as a pyramid scheme. But yes: it is not a ponzi scheme in that it most certainly is not voluntary.


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