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There is strong evidence that the Census Bureau’s population growth projections are wildly optimistic.
Population forecasting is extremely important for predicting the solvency of entitlement programs and government services, so it must be accurate.
Forecasting - Census - Bureau - Methods - Researchers
To get more accurate forecasting, the Census Bureau would need to invest in better methods and researchers.
The most recent report of the Social Security trustees suggested that the trust fund reserves will be depleted in 2034. This is a dire warning. The only problem is that it’s wrong: It’s far too optimistic.
Story - Congressional - Budget - Office - Budget
The same story goes for the Congressional Budget Office’s long-run budget projections. They say that debt-to-GDP will rise to 144% by 2050. That’s bad. But it’s not bad enough to accurately reflect reality.
Indeed, virtually every forecasting body in America, from Goldman Sachs to the Social Security Trustees, is wrong. Painfully wrong. Those whose job is to anticipate the future are engaged in a colossal project of collective negligence.
Wrongness - Example - Goldman - Sachs - Research
The wrongness runs deep. For example, Goldman Sachs’ most recent public research on demographic change suggests that “rising life expectancies” will have little economic effect on America. The only problem? Life expectancy in America is falling. It was falling in June 2018 when Goldman’s researchers published their poo-pooing of the role of demography in driving economic changes.
Private forecasters can perhaps be forgiven for negligence: Those who suffer from their inadequate research are shareholders who chose to invest in those firms (well, mostly).
Bodies - Duty - Public - Forecasts - Public
But when widely trusted public bodies fail to do their duty to the public and provide the best possible forecasts, the general public is justified in being a bit irritated. We are justified in wanting our policymakers, our budget planners, the people who are responsible for the public fisc, to be responsible. An essential part of responsibility is making sure your planning information is up-to-date.
Why are all these forecasts...
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