While economic debates can often get into complex questions of theory or statistical methods, many hang on more simple issues, like the right adjective. We got a great example of one such debate in a Wall Street journal columnby Andrew Biggs, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute and former Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration under President George W. Bush.
Biggs looks at some recent evidence, most notably a new study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and dismisses the idea that there is a retirement crisis. At the center of this assertion is the CBO projection that a typical household in the middle quintile, born in 1960, can expect to get $19,000 a year from Social Security. Biggs sees this $19,000 as replacing 56 percent of pre-retirement income and says this is not far from the 70-80 percent usually viewed as adequate. He then touts data on total retirement savings and pronounces everything as okay.