Skip to main content

View Diary: Giving a Right Winger Pause (56 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  You're right, Social Security didn't add anything (16+ / 0-)

    to the debt.

    I took pity, "I don't think we have to do anything major right now and it shouldn't be part of any "grand bargain".
    But Congress did.

    In fact, if we could force Congress to keep their grubby little fingers out of the SS surplus, we could use part of it towards the debt, and still be able to pay out 100% of benefits for at least a decade. With a little tweaking (raising the cap to a half million dollars) the program would be solvent for the next 70 years.

    If Al Gore had been named POTUS back in '2000, instead of shrub, Social Security wouldn't even be an issue right now because we'd be using his very practicable "lock-box" idea.

    FDR would have approved.

    Thanks for the diary.

    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

    by markthshark on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 07:13:48 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Using SOCIAL SECURITY surplus (8+ / 0-)

      To pay down the debt?!  Wash your mouth out with soap, right NOW!  Now using the SS surplus to increase benefits, or lower the eligibility age....

      •  increased benefits cost money forever (0+ / 0-)

        increasing benefits or lowering the eligibility age would drastically shorten SS lifespan.  you could do that, but you'd be almost guaranteed to harshly cut benefits and reduce eligibility in the near future (like 5-10 years).

        In today's economy, paying down the debt would be a pretty silly thing to do with the surplus.  But doing so as part of a compromise might make it possible to do other things, like effective stimulus in the form of payroll tax cuts subsidized training and federal infrastructure projects.

    •  The trust fund created by the Greenspan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kpardue, La Gitane, pickandshovel

      reform surplus exists for one reason - to meet an anticipated shortfall in the ~2020 to ~2040 time period. That is the only purpose, under law, for which it may be used. Not new programs, not deficit reduction.

      There was a trust fund before the Greenspan reform; its target was to maintain a year's outlays worth of reserve for when the economy does worse than projection.

      Moreover, Gore's "lockbox" doesn't mean what you think it means. The money of the SS surplus was always going to be spent. That's how treasury notes work. You buy a treasury note, the government spends that money on current operations, and pays you back, with interest, out of future revenues.

      This is true whether the treasury notes are owned by the SS Trustees, a Chinese sovereign wealth fund, a Saudi sheik, or your Uncle Bob.

      No one cries, "My Uncle Bob invested his life savings in Treasury bonds, but Congress went and spent it all!", because that would be stupid, and reveals a total ignorance of how Treasury bonds work. So let's stop saying the same thing about the Social Security Trust Fund.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:37:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site