Thursday, February 03, 2005


The WaPo has corrected their earlier Social Security article. The correction is deserved, but the difference is almost entirely one of semantics. The new version says:

If a worker sets aside $1,000 a year for 40 years, and earns 4 percent annually on investments, the account would grow to $99,800 in today's dollars. All of that money would be the worker's upon retirement. But guaranteed benefits over the worker's lifetime would be reduced by approximately $78,700 -- the amount the worker would have contributed to Social Security but instead contributed to his private account, plus 3 percent interest above inflation. The remainder, $21,100, would be the increase in benefit the worker would receive over his lifetime above the level he would have received if he stayed in the traditional system.

The difference is that previously they'd written that the government would just "keep" the $78,700, when in fact they're just reducing your guaranteed benefits. It's not entirely an issue of semantics, but the upshot for most people will be identical.