The latest report of the Social Security Trustees is out. I think the key message is what has happened to the estimate of actuarial balance — the difference between projected outlays and projected revenues over the next 75 years. This is the thing that’s supposed to get steadily worse as time goes by, as the 75-year window contains ever fewer years in which the baby boomers are in the work force, paying payroll taxes, and ever more years when the boomers are out of the work force and collecting benefits.

In fact, however, the actuarial balance has been improving rather than worsening. It’s now better than it’s been since 1993. What this tells us is that projections made in the mid-to-late 1990s were, in the light of subsequent revisions, way too pessimistic.

Moral: Social Security’s financial problem is relatively minor. It doesn’t deserve the emphasis it receives from most pundits.

Read it here.

Then there's this from Reuters:

LONDON - Maybe, just maybe, the financial world is not about to implode.

Such is the level of disaster mongering surrounding the latest phase of the eight-month-old credit crisis that you could be forgiven for thinking we will all soon be hoarding food and reverting to a barter economy.

At the very least, some market pricing and financial commentary has invoked a systemic collapse akin to 1929's stock market crash and the Great Depression that followed.