Doing The Fantasy Math On Social Security

Doing The Fantasy Math On Social Security

It must be fantasy finance month. On July 4, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie created $13.5 billion out of thin air and credited it to the state's troubled employee pension funds, making them look far less bad.

But Jersey Math, on which more later, is a rounding error compared with the Federal Fantasy Math that lets Social Security's retirement and disability programs look better on paper even as their financial situation gets worse.

If you dig into the Social Security Trustees Report released last week, you find that over the past seven years, the retirement and disability programs have run through a total of more than $400 billion of cash — money the Treasury had to borrow...