Posted by: Doug Henwood | August 19, 2010

Robert Reich on Social Security: no problem

Going through past LBOs in order to put together a greatest hits anthology to be published to mark the newsletter’s 25th anniversary next year, I came across this, from issue #92, November 1999:

Reich on crisis This newsletter has long argued that the Social Security crisis is a concoction based on preposterously low economic growth assumptions. In the course of an interview with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on a different matter, LBO was able to ask him a couple of questions on the topic. Here’s a transcript:

For several years, you signed the reports of the Trustees of the Social Security System that contained very gloomy economic growth projections for the next 75 years. Did you ever question the logic of these or see any political pressure to come up with very low numbers?

There was no political pressure. The actuary at the Social Security Trust Fund wanted to play it exceedingly safe. I did raise a number of questions. I think that at the earlier part of the 90s those extraordinarily safe and conservative projections were not unreasonable. But now they’re foolish. We’ve had a number of years now of economic growth over 4%; even if the economy slows down it’s very unlikely that growth will be under 2.5 or 2.6% a year, and with that pace of growth Social Security is a nonissue. It won’t be a problem. We’ll be able to pay all our Social Security obligations.

Nobody ever says that in public.

I’ve said it in public on at least 20 occasions, including national television and radio. It ought to be said more ofte

n.

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Responses

  1. Excellent! Can’t wait for the Anthology to come out.

  2. The formatting makes it a little bit ambiguous who said what and when. Is “nobody says that in public” on down Reich’s words, LBO’s commentary at the time, or LBO’s commentary now?

  3. Sorry, that’s:

    LBO: Nobody ever says that in public.

    Reich: I’ve said it in public on at least 20 occasions, including national television and radio. It ought to be said more ofte


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