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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12411/trust-us-social-security-works/

Trust Us: Social Security Works

April 7, 2010 by

Economic theory is to many on the Left nothing more than a constant rephrasing of the old Marxist canards condemning business, coupled with the most childlike faith in the power of government bureaucrats. FULL ARTICLE by Mark R. Crovelli

{ 46 comments }

Mike April 7, 2010 at 9:05 am

“The price for labor affects both the quantity of labor demanded and the price of the finished goods the labor is a factor in creating.”

I don’t think the latter is correct. Prices are consumer-driven.

The_Orlonater April 7, 2010 at 9:34 am

I don’t think that’s what he’s saying. He never alluded to the LTV as far as I can tell.

J. Murray April 7, 2010 at 11:27 am

Precisely. The marketable price of the labor is dictated by the demand for the product. More of the product that is desired, the higher the salary goes as the next marginal employee will seek higher wages for the position. An employee may want to be paid more, but that can only happen if the market is willing to pay the higher price.

Eric M. Staib April 7, 2010 at 11:36 am

We still mustn’t ignore the reality that a product that uses inexpensive inputs (say cheap labor and cheap metal) will eventually yield low prices despite high consumer valuations through market entry that pushes input prices up and output prices down.

Eric M. Staib April 7, 2010 at 11:38 am

This is the problem with democracy. I’d bet money that every single writer on that website almost never misses an election. The same goes doubly for the enthusiastic social programmers with their campaigns against drug use, obesity, “poverty,” young people’s sexual freedom, etc etc etc.

It’s so much easier to simply lie and distort than it is to bring people to the worldview of liberty, which is to say the worldview of peace. So long as the average man is an easily-amused simpleton, which he undeniably is, democracy will fail every time, which it undeniably has.

Cybertarian April 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Well, some of us refuse to vote and consider this non-participation as a “vote” against democracy.

If less and less people vote, that counts as a big vote against democracy and it undermines it’s legitimacy.

When governments are elected by only a tiny percentage of the population, that gives a lot of credibility to libertarianism.

I am a non-voting libertarian.

billwald April 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

The Libertarian solution to the social security problem is Social Darwinism? The people who can’t fight their way up the food chain have an obligation to clean the gene pool by starving?

Anthony April 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm

If the government didn’t interfere by preventing people from working (i.e. minimum wage, maximum hours of work, etc.) and didn’t take resources away from productive people in order to subsidize idle people, it would be far easier for everyone to earn the resources they need to survive.

Where are more people starving… in comparatively free countries like Canada and the United States or in socialist/communist countries?

TJ from Keene April 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Uh. . . Canada isn’t socialist? Most western democracies aren’t socialist? Communism and socialism are completly different things. Theoretically, Communism and Socialism are distant cousins, but most modern “Communist” regimes are actually more Totalitarian than Communist.

Russ April 7, 2010 at 1:24 pm

No, Bill, the libertarian solution to the social security “problem” is not social Darwinism. There is absolutely nothing in libertarianism, properly understood, that is opposed to charity. It is only opposed to the forced charity of compassion fascists like Obama.

geoih April 8, 2010 at 7:12 am

Actually, that is the solution to the Social Security problem. All we have to do is increase the death rate of retirees (or those very close to retirement) and Social Security will be just fine. We just have to find a way to do this without waiting for 30 years for it to happen on its own. If there was just some way to get control of the country’s medical system and guide it in this direction. We could stop spending so much money on keeping people alive who are no longer paying into the system and actually draining funds from it. You know, people who are probably going to die in a few years anyway. We’d probably only need to bend the curve a dozen percentage points or so. The benefit to the common good would be far outweighed by the cost.

doug April 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm

…and why is Bernie Madoff in prison?

Ohhh Henry April 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm

“Childlike” is indeed the best description of this type of thinking.

Listening to progressives argue for the inherent soundness of Euro-socialist governments and for the sustainability of Euro-style medicare, pensions, etc. is like having one of those dreams where nothing makes sense, people are acting and speaking illogically, but nobody is contradicting them or pointing out the unreality. The dream simply continues until you wake up …

After everything has come crashing down, history will be written to describe the period of 1950-2010 as a golden age of equality and prosperity which would have continued forever except that it was “stabbed in the back” by greedy capitalists.

Just Saying April 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm

“the inevitable and impending bankruptcy of Social Security this year is nothing more than scaremongering designed to manufacture a “fake crisis.”"

This is just more mutterings from the lunatic fringe. Social Security can’t go ‘bankrupt”. For starters, it has no creditors. And that is the least of the problems with the “bankruptcy” analogy. Although apparently the people using that term don’t realize it is at best an analogy.

Then there is the “Ponzi scheme” argument, which is really a claim that all insurance programs are “Ponzi Schemes” since they pay benefits from the money they collect. Again, apparently the people who make this claim don’t recognize it as a analogy, albeit another poor one.

But this is really just anti-government blathering. The real threat to the United States is the people who actually believe it, not the commentators who just think its fun to write. Most of the rest of us look around and realize that if it weren’t for government, and the investments and sacrifices of earlier generations, our own lives would be a lot more coarse and difficult. And out paychecks would all be a lot smaller.

If you don’t believe me, try driving you Mercedes on an unimproved road sometime. You won’t get far.

fakename April 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm

well I think that one could argue that at some times during its existence, social security was a ponzi scheme because it had to grow at a geometric rate to make money though the population wasn’t growing at such a rate…

newson April 7, 2010 at 7:47 pm

so north korea must be the world’s premier driving experience. i know someone else who loved autobahns, too.

Inquisitor April 8, 2010 at 9:02 am

So basically you did nothing but complain about analogies, bitch about anti-government “blathering” (as if your pro-state apologia is not blathering) and then assert, with ZERO evidence that :
“Most of the rest of us look around and realize that if it weren’t for government, and the investments and sacrifices of earlier generations, our own lives would be a lot more coarse and difficult. And out paychecks would all be a lot smaller.”

Takes a special kind of nutcase to do all that in one post, I must say.

doug April 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

Then there is the “Ponzi scheme” argument, which is really a claim that all insurance programs are “Ponzi Schemes”

Yes, but insurance is voluntary, or it used to be.

Russ April 7, 2010 at 5:51 pm

…Social Security can’t go ‘bankrupt”. For starters, it has no creditors.

Social Security owes money to everyone who has paid into the system. Those people are the creditors. If the Social Security system fails, those people will lose what they have been forced to put into the system. If that is not creditors losing out to a bankruptcy, it’s a very close analogy.

Then there is the “Ponzi scheme” argument, which is really a claim that all insurance programs are “Ponzi Schemes” since they pay benefits from the money they collect. Again, apparently the people who make this claim don’t recognize it as a analogy, albeit another poor one.

This is from the government’s SEC web site: “A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.” Now, the Social Security system pays money to the current recipients based on money received by current contributors. The money does not come from the previous contributions of the current recipients. It seems like Social Security is pretty close to the SEC’s definition of a Ponzi scheme to me.

The difference between a Ponzi scheme and a regular insurance plan is that in a regular insurance plan, the company uses sane actuarial principles to make sure that the plan is sustainable. Social Security does no such thing, and so depends on more and more contributions from later generations to pay for the coverage. It is not sustainable.

I myself am not an anarchist, so I can understand how you could get frustrated by all the knee-jerk anti-government fuming here. But not everything the government does is good or right, and knee-jerk support of the government is just as bad as knee-jerk criticism of it. Maybe next time you decide to “just say” something, Just Saying, you should pull your head out of your ass before you do so.

mpolzkill April 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Yes, we have knee-jerk reactions against theft and waste, and that covers everything governments do. And of course they steal more and waste more than any other organizations on Earth, hence the focus. It is not some sort of fetish, as Russ tries to suggest in his never ending campaign here.

newson April 7, 2010 at 7:56 pm

hold the butter, we’ll stick with the guns
http://player.video.news.com.au/news/#1460984465

mpolzkill April 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Exactly on my mind, Newson, Russ just wants to hold the butter. I wanted to know if Russ got a thrill seeing his brave boys in action on that one.

Russ April 8, 2010 at 11:25 am

Wow, even when I call somebody out on knee-jerk reaction in favor of government, you bitch me out. You apparently can’t not bitch me out, until I embrace the One True Religion. And you say I am on a never-ending campaign?

As for your “knee-jerk reactions against theft”, here’s a hint. Killing that is justified isn’t murder; likewise, taking that is justified isn’t theft.

mpolzkill April 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

You have that backwards Russ, you’re the one with the religion. You didn’t make it clear about the video. The boys, your boys, the functional idiots in the video, using the fancy murdering equipment paid for with my confiscated money: that was justified confiscation and a justified slaughter? By what rubric?

My misguided campaign ends the minute yours does.

Bennet Cecil April 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Good luck repealing social security! Every boomer expects a check each month. It transfers money from workers, businesses and now investors to the retired and disabled. Many unemployed Americans apply for disability benefits. The current lack of funds is no surprise; everyone knows the SS Trust Fund is a fiction. The entire US government is a Ponzi scheme. Huge deficit spending will eventually cause crippling inflation, record unemployment and possible currency collapse.
Voters will elect different leaders in November. The cost of government will be reduced because Americans will not accept permanent high employment.

DixieFlatline April 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Bennet, voting is a show put on for the mob to make them feel like they get to choose which criminal best represents their interests.

Voting doesn’t change anything substantive. The institutions which run the state are not democratic. The democratic portions are like the flag, anthems and constitution. Relics of an idealized past that never was, used in the ceremonies of state by people who have spent a lifetime rotating between worshiping their leaders and aping those leaders by oppressing their neighbors.

Allen W. Smith, Ph.D. April 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Most of what is currently being written about Social Security, totally ignores the most urgent problem facing the program. That problem is the fact that, every dollar of the $2.5 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue, generated by the 1983 payroll tax hike, has already been spent by the government. The trust fund contains no real assets. It is empty!

Most of the articles are written by well-intentioned people, who just amplify the misinformation that the AARP and the NCPSSM have been bombarding their members, and the public, with for years. The myth is that Social Security has $2.5 trillion in, “good- as-gold,” Treasury bonds stashed away in the trust fund that will make possible the payment of full Social Security benefits for decades to come without any action. The message may be comforting to those who believe it, but it is not true.

I have been researching and writing about Social Security for more than a decade, and I have published four books on the subject. The hard fact is that every dime of the $2.5 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue, generated by the 1983 payroll tax hike, has been spent on wars and other government programs. Every month, for the past 25 years, the total receipts from the payroll tax have been split two ways. First, benefits for current retirees are paid from the Social Security revenue. Then, all remaining Social Security revenue, not needed to pay that month’s benefits, are deposited into the general fund and become indistinguishable from other general fund revenue.

Most workers think that at least some of the FICA taxes deducted from their paychecks will be saved and used to pay future Social Security benefits. But it doesn’t work that way. Not a single dime of payroll tax revenue has ever been saved and earmarked for the payment of future benefits. To put it bluntly, the government has “borrowed,” “embezzled,” or “stolen” every penny of the $2.5 trillion of surplus revenue that was supposed to be saved and invested. I consider this to be the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people by their government. I have been trying to expose this awful truth for more than a decade, and some courageous people were trying to expose it even before I stumbled onto the scam in 1999.

On October 13, 1989, Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) issued the following warning in a speech on the Senate floor.

“…the most reprehensible fraud in this great jambalaya of frauds is the systematic and total ransacking of the Social Security trust fund ..in the next century…the American people will wake up to the reality that those IOUs in the trust fund vault are a 21st century version of Confederate bank notes.”

A year later, on October 9, 1990 Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) made a similar warning in a Senate speech. He said:

“…on that chart in emblazoned red letters is what has been taking place here, embezzlement. During the period of growth we have had during the past 10 years, the growth has been from two sources. One, a large credit card with no limits on it, and, two, we have been stealing money from the Social Security recipients of this country.”

On January 21, 2005, David Walker, the Comptroller General of the GAO, tried to make it clear to everyone that the trust fund contained no real assets. He said:

“There are no stocks or bonds or real estate in the trust fund. It has nothing of real value to draw down.”

If anyone has any remaining doubts about whether or not the trust fund contains real assets, those doubts should be removed by the following statement from the 2009 Social Security Trustees Report:

“Neither the redemption of trust fund bonds, nor interest paid on those bonds, provides any new net income to the Treasury, which must finance redemptions and interest payments through some combination of increased taxation, reductions in other government spending, or additional borrowing from the public.”

I urge everyone who cares about the future of Social Security to please visit my website at http://www.thebiglie.net to learn more about Social Security and my efforts to expose the scam. Excerpts from my latest book, “THE BIG LIE: How Our Government Hoodwinked the Public, Emptied the S.S. Trust Fund, and caused The Great Economic Collapse,” are posted on the site. Please feel free to download them.

Allen W. Smith, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics Emeritus
Eastern Illinois University
Website: http://www.thebiglie.net
Email: ironwoodas@aol.com
Phone: 1-800-840-6812

Dave Lindorff April 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Mark Crovelli displays either incredible ignorance about finances and politics, or is simply being deliberately obtuse. The fact that Social Security is paying out more than it is taking in doesn’t mean it’s bankrupt, any more than the fact that GM reported a loss for the second half of 2009 AFTER it had gone through bankruptcy means that it’s bankrupt again. Companies run losses for the year–even for years in a row–all the time. They are only bankrupt when they can’t pay their bills.

Hell, I ran at a loss last year, when magazines I write for were late paying me, and I had to borrow on my credit line in order to get through the year. That doesn’t mean I was bankrupt.

The truth is that Social Security can not go bankrupt, because it has at its disposal the full taxing authority of the United States. The claim that Social Security will go, or has gone, bankrupt is one made by right wingers who either don’t like the idea of the government doing anything, or who are in league with the Wall Street shysters who want to kill Social Security and get the fees that go with mismanaging all Americans’ savings, as they have been so handily doing with our 401(k) funds and our IRAs.

More importantly, no less than Nobel Economics Laureate Paul Krugman has reported that putting Social Security on a sound footing well into the next century with no change in benefits would take just an investment of .54% of GDP, or in other words a 3% increase in federal spending (less than we spend on our current pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). Any projected shortfalls in funding that might require assistance from general revenues could also be avoided during the period of higher benefits payments to cover the Baby Boom retirees simply by, as I wrote in my piece, eliminating the cap entirely on all earned income (only the first $106,800 in income is currently subject to SSI taxes), and by taxing investment income, which is currently exempt.

I agree with Krugman too, who points out that critics like the deceptive and disingenuous Cravelli try to have it both ways. On the one hand they say that the Social Security Trust Fund is a fraud because it has all been borrowed away by the Federal Government–a point which is correct–politicians love to borrow that money, leaving behind IOUs in the form or treasury bonds, because they don’t have to admit to the public the true costs of our wars and our “defense” budget, and they want to keep giving massive tax breaks to the rich–but on the other hand they say Social Security will go bust because the government will never repay that borrowed money.

The problem with this Three Card Monte argument is that if the US were to default on the bonds that are held in the Trust Fund, it would ruin the reputation of Treasuries and cause the US AAA credit rating to fall to junk bond status overnight, collapsing the dollar and raising interest rates in the US to cosmic heights. Never gonna happen.

What will happen? As I said in my essay, thanks to the political power of the senior lobby once it is bulked up with retired and soon to retire Baby Boomers, the political system will have to adequately fund the social Security system. And younger workers won’t complain overmuch if SSI taxes go up, because it will be the benefits for their parents and grandparents that are being funded. What will happen is that political pressure will mount to dramatically slash the wasteful military spending that has been bleeding this economy.

I won’t waste my time with Crovelli’s red-baiting nonsense about Germany. He’s correct in identifying me as a socialist, but I’m no Communist, and never held the command-economy of the Germam “Democratic” Republic of East Germany as any model. But West Germany, as I pointed out and as Crovelli conveniently failed to discuss, while having higher wages than the US and a well-funded retirement system, continues to be the second largest EXPORTER in the world after China. How do they do it? Well for one thing, Germany spends 1% of GDP on its military, while the US spends 5%.

The main thing to get from all this is that if you’re a worker, don’t worry about Social Security. It will be there for you, if you make sure to vote only for politicians who support it, and if you remember that whenever you hear charlatans like Crovelli crying “Social Security is going bankrupt!” hold on to your wallets!

Dave Lindorff
http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

adi April 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Actually situation with Soc Sec system is not much different to scenario where all pension plans would invest only in municipal/central government bonds. In this case bonds do not represent wealth which was created, but only some right to have a certain portion of governments tax revenues paid to its holder.

Financial assets are not wealth per se. They give you right to have a certain or very uncertain (in case of stocks) monetary flow each time period. This monetary flow can be used to fund consumption. By wealth I mean physical stock of capital which can be used to produce consumption goods. Ownership of these financial assets just determines how in each time period the “cake” is distributed. And this cake is baked by means of labour, entrepreneurship and capital goods produced earlier.

Economys stock of capital can be enlarged only by means of saving (so that more capital goods are produced instead of consumption goods) and purchase of governments bonds is not saving since government instantly squanders these monies.

Legally it might be very well true that those who paid various payroll based taxes are entitled to some benefits, but government can change laws. Economically speaking purchase of governments bonds is not saving.

Bruce Webb April 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm

An economic argument that will come as a surprise to the Chinese Central Bank.

You give the government money. They spend it and give you a promise in the form of a piece of paper or maybe just an electronic entry. Some people call this a “phony IOU” or “fiat money”. Other people have built up an entire world economic system around Full Faith and Credit of the United States of America and call it “buying the safest investment in the world”. Suggestions that the Special Treasuries in the Trust Fund are legally different from those held by the CCB is somewhere between dishonesty and economic treason.

Bruce Webb April 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Social Security’s finances could be shored up for the next eighteen years by a tax increase of $1.50 a week. If the author of this article wanted to use real numbers rather than a nominal $17.5 trillion one calculated over the God Help Us Infinite Future Horizon.

Infinite Future was introduced with the 2003 Social Security Report PRECISELY to enable the thoroughly dishonest and snarky argumentation being deployed here. Not only is “unfunded liability” non-existent in legal terms, it being a purely theoretical construct that measures a gap between future revenue and future cost that will be bridged from one side or the other, measuring it even over the standard 75 year window is from a probability basis ridiculous, using numbers that extend that to a hundred years (so-called ‘current participants’) or Infinite Future (so called ‘open group’) are literally only useful for Peter G Peterson inspired propaganda.

The editors who approved this piece did their readers a grave disservice, if libertarian inspired folk want an open, data based debate feel free to comment on the Angry Bear Social Security Series. Because an honest assessment of this piece would put me on the wrong side of publishing and civility standards.

El Tonno April 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Now I’m confused.

$1.50 a week would not cover my Social Security costs for sure. How can that be enough?

Inquisitor April 8, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Wonder which propaganda centre you were trained at…

mpolzkill April 9, 2010 at 2:28 am

Inquisitor,

I too was interested in how someone comes to say such ridiculous things. Behold the mountains of drivel:

http://www.angrybearblog.com/search?q=Bruce+webb

from this guy:

“I am by training a historian and mythologist who then has spent my working career in information retrieval and land use regulation. My interest in Social Security arose when I noticed in passing that the dates related to ‘crisis’ were moving but that nobody seemed to be noticing that and still less asking the key questions ‘why?’ and ‘can this go on?’ So I set out to try to answer those questions and then share the results which somehow led to a gig here at AB. Politically I am somewhat left of left of center and could best be described as a ‘New Dealer’ and so weigh in on more overtly political questions as the opportunity arises.”

Although I do like this posting of his:

http://www.angrybearblog.com/2009/11/crowding-out-social-security-and.html

In my most grim moments I actually hope these lefties are successful in their attempted takeover. Their complete destruction of the economy will at least put Russ’s cackling heroes out of business [see Russ and his imagined protectors above].

mpolzkill April 9, 2010 at 2:50 am

* make that: “Their overwhelming desolation of the economy”

They can’t completely destroy the economy unless they force us all to have lobotomies, too.

Gil April 9, 2010 at 2:57 am

Why can’t S.S. be compared to saying “1960′s agricultural technology couldn’t support 6 billion people”? If people were still using 1960′s agricultural technology in the 1990′s then there would have been indeed large famines however technologies improved and we’re now on the verge of 7 billion people. Could the U.S.A. still rake in immigrants and create a large young tax base to cover the oldies, or, shock and horror, take funds away from the military?

Dan Oblinger April 9, 2010 at 9:51 am

I am frustrated by Mr. Daily’s conflation of distinct concepts.

“going negative” is *not* the same as bankruptcy. As an example, In 2008, my net worth “went negative” but I was not bankrupt (e.g. I still had assets.) Additionally his phrasing that “congress has already spent” the current social security savings is true, but in a wrong headed sense. Anytime a bond is issued the issuer has typically ‘spent’ the money–this is the purpose of a bond. Still, the recipient of the bond will be paid that money back. According to Mr. Daily’s reasoning, any bank or foreign government holding US T-bills should view that money as not existing, since Congress has already ‘spent’ that money. This is not how the world views US T-bills–rather the world views them as a very reliable asset. So should we.

For the record I do see serious problems for our social security program, but Mr. Daily’s analysis in both tone and content, feels sloppy to me.

–dan

adi April 9, 2010 at 10:38 am

Dan,

as I stated it is not that these bonds are worthless. It is just that they are claim to monetary flow arising from production which can used to buy consumption goods. This claim might be valid, but it is still true that government has not used monies for productive purposes.

Real wealth in economy are actually various capital goods and stocks of consumption goods produced earlier. Also many non-financial assets like natural resources are real wealth. Ownership of financial assets just determines who will get a certain percentage of surpluss arising from production.

Same is true with respect to private households. If they want to consume more than they produce, they will increase their level of indebtness.

Good pension plan would increase level of economys capital stock so that in the future more could be produced or purchased from abroad to satisfy the needs of labourers and growing number of pensioners.

adi April 9, 2010 at 10:49 am

Holders of US govt bonds expect that they will get a reasonable return from their financial investment. US govt will be able to pay if it can tax its subjects.

And US is such a large economy that it can produce something which will be valued abroad.

Of course foreigners would not buy any bonds issued some banana-republic in its own currency. These bonds could not be traded internationally because so many would not trust their value stayi ng constant for a long period.

Felis Catus April 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Mr Crovelli, in “Trust us Social Security Works” says:
“… Lindorff apparently really believes that the Social Security “trust fund” actually has real money in it, instead of a bunch of worthless IOUs from the Treasury Department…”

In the so called ‘real’ world, any Trustee or lawyer who ‘borrowed’ or stole from a Trust fund would be imprisoned on felony fraud and/or theft charges and lose their professional license and civil rights, such as voting in elections and to be bonded or carry/own a firearm. A Trust is a Trust-why were not the politicians and bureaucrats in the District Of Criminals similarly persecuted for theft from the Social Security Trust Fund by conjuring up worthless “IOU’s” and spending the hard assets elsewheres? Do the same ‘laws’ apply equally to our lawmakers & bureaucrats that apply to ‘we the people’, the lowly common citizen in civilian life? If Social Security was honestly administered with no theft (ie: “worthless IOU’s”)from this Trust Fund, would it be solvent in the present time? Is political corruption and lawbreaking: “stealing” from the Trust a cause of the problem? Tom Paine, one of the founding fathers of the USA was very much for a system resembling our Social Security today to take care of the many so called “man/woman on the street” or “average” individuals in their old age who did not have the education, financial expertise, social connections, or status of many of those who write for and read the literature of the Mises Institute. I have seen 19th century printed steel plate engravings from the Edwardian and Victorian periods of the sick and elderly starving and dying in the gutters in metro London-with the undertaker’s waggon in the background taking the bodies off the street and alleyways to be buried in the mass grave we politely call ‘potters field’. If Social Security and allied programmes are abolished, what would those who ideologically object to these programmes put in place as an alternative to prevent the conditions described in the 19th cnetury steel plate engravings previously described? Or do they care? I have no ideological or ‘philosophical’ commitments, just questions, here.

Rabbit April 10, 2010 at 11:14 pm

I think you missed the point of the article actually.

Vastly more money is beingt spent on uneccesary and failing wars, than would be needed to fix social security. We in civilised countries who have social security, (a basic right we believe) like Australia, Britain, Denmark etc (ie: all your alleged allies) look on in astonishment and horror at the inhuman and nasty attitude of American conservatives in this regard. YUK!

Whilst you reduce various struggling natioons to abject poverty and life’s ruin for your major corporate interests (Oil and Weapons), more and more of your own people are experiencing poverty, starvation, homelessness and the USA resembles nothing short of a corporate dictatorship existing as a lackey for israel (Rothschildlandia). You’re a joke USA, an ugly, bad taste joke on the world but no less a giant hoax and joke on yourselves.

Jonathan Finegold Catalán April 10, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Rabbit, the reasons for social security’s bankruptcy is largely as a result of its future costs, or unfunded liabilities. The money spent so far on Iraq and Afghanistan would not serve to pay for these unfunded liabilities – not even 1/14th. So far, 981 billion have been spent on both wars, while the unfunded liability of social security comes to over 14 trillion dollars. In fact, the total amount of money spent on both wars since they began would serve only to pay off social security for this year, with only a little over 200 billion dollars left.

El Tonno April 11, 2010 at 6:08 am

That would be the “Health and Human Services” bar on this graph

http://www.federalbudget.com/

Money comes in, and money goes out immediately, but no serious amount goes to interest-generating investments which should currently be at 100 trillion USD to be able to finance future liabilities. But this is an enormous amount, in other words, expectations VASTLY exceed the means:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/14/taxes-social-security-opinions-columnists-medicare.html

“To put it another way, the total unfunded indebtedness of Social Security and Medicare comes to $106.4 trillion. That is how much larger the nation’s capital stock would have to be today, all of it owned by the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, to generate enough income to pay all the benefits that have been promised over and above future payroll taxes. But the nation’s total private net worth is only $51.5 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. In effect, we have promised the elderly benefits equal to more than twice the nation’s total wealth on top of the payroll tax.”

Rabbit April 10, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I mean to say, you send more money to israel in a month than it would take to fix social security for a year. Fascinating since israelis enjoy a better living standard than USAns…whilst they murder and steal from their neighbors, with your money and protection.

Priorities yankees, where are your priorities?

public works energy April 20, 2010 at 8:50 am

Social work or public works are a professional and academic discipline committed to the pursuit of social change, to quality of life and to the development of the full potential of each individual, group and community in a society.

Duh April 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Remove the $106k salary cap, solvent forever. It’s NEVER contributed a dime to the deficit and it currently even with the 106k cap has a $2,000,000,000,000 surplus.

Shut up idiot.

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