Social Security: Part of the solution, or part of problem?

  • Article by: GLENN KESSLER , Washington Post
  • Updated: December 2, 2012 - 10:03 PM
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hobie2Dec. 2, 1211:57 PM

"But notice that fully $110 billion of the income was interest on Treasury securities. That interest is simply paid with new bonds. So when that money is subtracted, the actual cash flow is negative -- and getting worse.".... a classic shift of reference frame erroneous argument. He correctly talks about Social Security as separate from the US government and that the US govt issues it bonds, and then he incorrectly says it is not separate and that the US government issues bonds to itself - and he then reaches a false conclusion to make his point.... To illustrate the error of the argument he uses -- three men go into a hotel and get a room. The clerk charges them $30. After they go to the room, the clerk discovers the room costs $25, and he gives the bellman $5 to return to them. When the bellman gets to the room, he can't divide the $5 three ways, so he gives each man back a dollar and pockets the $2. Each man paid $9 - $9 x 3 is $27, plus the $2 the bellman kept makes $29. Where did the other dollar go?... It didn't... In the real world, the interest due on amount borrowed on a line of credit loan from the bank but not paid is added to the total amount due the bank, and the banks don't go negative for doing it... Social Security lender and US government borrower - it is not US government both lender and borrower, issuing itself bonds.

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jimcrockerDec. 3, 12 5:20 AM

If the current sitting congress would repay just one half of the money that previous congresses have taken from the Social Security Trust Fund, then Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid would be flush with cash for probably the next four or five hundred years. Previous congresses have misappropriated funds from the Trust fund and always promised to repay the money, but somehow never repaid one penny. The billions of dollars that have been wrongly taken from the Social Security Trust Fund would probably earned interest in the hundreds of billions of dollars, if the funds were left alone.

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comment229Dec. 3, 12 5:24 AM

Leave social security alone! I won't go into details on that one, but if you want to find out what our problems are in this country, take a long hard look at foreign aid and defense. When you get sick of looking at that waste, then get yourself a tape of last nights "60 Minutes" broadcast about fraud in the health care industry. And please don't forget who is going to pay for Bush's two wars also; they are still on the credit card too. In short, it is TIME to take care of Americans first; the world second.

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mn2niceDec. 3, 12 6:17 AM

Why don't they close the loophole that allows social security trust fund money from being used by other areas of the government. If SSA wasn't "loaning" money to help with the deficit, it might be able to pay its way instead of relying on the Treasury Bonds.

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dsteele04Dec. 3, 12 6:54 AM

A nation enduring environment of instability, disharmony and distrust most definitely needs social programs to protect it's weaker citizens, whose numbers continue to grow. Entitlement reform must begin with removal of opportunity to influence government actions and elections with wealth, and once again stripping media ownership from those whose control poses flagrant conflict of interest. Show me a nation that once had fair media, that conscience of nations, and I'll show you a nation that once had good government!

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jmusielewiczDec. 3, 12 8:20 AM

Its really hard for people to understand but for systems to succeed it important to count 'ethics' 'first' way BEFORE you 'count' the 'cash'. Cash falls way down on the list of importance when you are in 'trouble'. Follow through on 'values' you WIN otherwise YOU LOSE!!

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privateeyeDec. 3, 12 9:12 AM

I have no problem with the government returning all the money I nave contributed at a modest interest rate for all the years I have paid in. I would be willing to take it from there.

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blatherskiteDec. 3, 1211:26 AM

@privateeye, The government will return your money with interest as soon as you reach the age of eligibility and apply.

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citypersonDec. 3, 1212:36 PM

Conservatives have no problem gifting money to the military while the Empire has bases in 90+ countries. But if the American who has worked all their lives inside the Empire's borders needs a little help, the conservatives cry wolf. It's disgusting they keep perpetuating the myth that Social Security will be bankrupt. It's a complete lie, unless of course, they have control of the three branches.

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jepop90Dec. 3, 1212:39 PM

An increase in the SS taxable income ceiling to $125k will make the SS trust fund solvent through 2090.

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