Skip to main content

View Diary: Should Americans Forgive the $2.5 Trillion Borrowed From Social Security? (181 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Let me explain again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    This old man, FG, CA wildwoman

    Social security is already in bonds.  The fund is in special bonds that are paid back with a small amount of interest.  Why do it this way?  Because a lock box is absurd.  What would you do with the money?  Keep it in a safe?  Turn it into gold?  Instead the money is used in the general fund.  But it must be paid back.  The special bonds have been paid back many times before.  So before we get confused by right wing nonsense please understand how money is handled in social security.  There is nothing dubious about it.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:29:17 PM PST

    •  Pssst (7+ / 0-)

      I know it's kind of long and boring so I'll summarize.  The point of the piece is to point out pretty much the same as what you say and to illustrate a right wing liar, Paul Ryan, telling right wing lies along the way.  

      Kos members are a pretty knowledgable bunch.  I'd be surprised if anyone thought that the term, Lockbox, in reference to Social Security, was meant literally.  People use the term when they mean that the program should be "off the budget" so that its revenues and outlays are excluded from the US Federal Budget.  

      I hope we can benefit from each other's knowledge and support and encourage each others efforts.

      Have a nice evening.

      "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

      by leftreborn on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 11:00:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  generally, i disagree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dream It Real

      which doesn't make me a lot of friends around here.

      my argument, which i've made more than once, is that:

      A. You are correct, it makes no sense to talk about a "lock box". Money is debt. Debt is money. Whether the debt held by Social Security is in the form of US bank notes or US treasuries is irrelevant from the perspective of whether it is debt.

      B. Debt is inherently barren. Whether the debt is in US bank notes or in US treasuries, it represents an obligation -- an obligation by future generations of wage-earners to "pay back" the generation of wage-earners that is currently "foregoing" spending all of that money -- and somehow those future generations are going to need to find the wherewithal to honor that obligation.

      C. Implicit in that obligation is the idea that the current wage-earners are, indeed, "foregoing" spending that money. Yet ... clearly, they are not foregoing spending the money, because they are lending it to themselves -- where themselves is understood to mean, the federal government, which they control, and which spends money on their behalf.

      D. Given this implication, the current generation of wage-earners are cheating future generations of wage-earners. How? This is how:

      By pissing away the money borrowed from Social Security on barren government consumption (e.g., munitions) and private consumption (e.g., whatever toys people are buying for themselves with the additional personal income they have because the government is selling Treasuries to raise revenue, rather than taxing that personal income).

      This isn't hard to understand. Here is how the current generation of wage-earners should be spending the money that they are putatively "saving for retirement":

      A Post-secondary education, whether training in the skilled trades, or in 2-year high-tech, or in 4-year colleges.

      B Transportation infrastructure. Roads, mass transit, bridges, whatever the future generations are going to need in order to get where they need to go. If future generations are busy building roads and monorails and high-speed railroad beds and bridges that the retirees neglected to build on their watch, how are they supposed to find the time to honor their financial obligation to the retirees?

      C. Health care infrastructure. Hospitals. Clinics. Equipment. And people to staff the hospitals, clinics, and labs.

      D. Affordable housing, both for seniors and for young workers and young families. If the next generation is busy building housing for seniors, who will build homes for them? Where will they live?

      E Alternative energy development. Instead of subsidizing the consumption of fossil fuels, the current generation should be ensuring that the subsequent generations will have the energy resources needed to meet the Social Security obligation.

      The basic problem is this: The current generation (which includes me, BTW -- hypothetically, I will be a retiree in 15 or 20 years) is not investing the money that is being "saved", but rather it is squandering the money that is being "saved". It's exactly as if 100,000,000 Americans did this:

      A Deposited 3,000,000,000,000 dollars in a bank account
      B Borrowed 3,000,000,000,000 dollars from the bank and threw an enormous party
      C Told their grandchildren that they would be expected to pay off the 3,000,000,000,000 loan by earning money doing odd jobs for their grandparents ( who would pay them by drawing on that 3,000,000,000,000 in savings ).

      Well, how in the hell are the grandchildren supposed to support themselves, when all of their labor is going to go into doing odd jobs for their grandparents, and all of their income is going to go into paying off the bankers?

      It's not a complicated formula. The current generation is borrowing from itself and having a party, while telling future generations that they are expected to make good on the loan.

      It's what 30 years of Reaganomics have produced. It didn't have to be done like this. It doesn't have to be done like this. The current generation could be electing governments that would invest those savings in real, public, economic goods: Whether physical assets like housing, transportation infrastructure, alternative energy infrastructure, and health care infrastructure, or intangible assets like education.

      As long as the current generation refuses to do this -- refuses to properly take care of the coming generation, and to prepare the economy for the future -- the borrowing of Social Security funds represents a racket being run by older wage-earners (particularly, those over forty or so) against young and future wage earners.

      The accounting is not difficult. One hundred percent of the money borrowed from Social Security each year should be spent only on projects that can be directly foreseen as providing economic wherewithal to future generations. Period. Education. Housing. Transportation. Health Care. Energy.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 02:12:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, what is money? A unit of account, nothing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        more.

        We're no longer on the gold standard.

        What does it mean to borrow or pay back, say inches or miles?

        How difficult is that to do when you have an inches making machine?  Lol.

        Fiat money doesn't ever have to be paid back, just as inches don't have to.  

        They're infinite.  As all non-tangible things are.

    •  The only dubious thing is that we should be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yoduuuh do or do not

      lending our Social Security money to the Federal Government at the same rate of interest that the banks charge us!!!

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (153)
  • Community (77)
  • Bernie Sanders (51)
  • Elections (45)
  • 2016 (41)
  • Climate Change (36)
  • Environment (35)
  • Hillary Clinton (34)
  • Culture (33)
  • Civil Rights (30)
  • Science (30)
  • Media (28)
  • Republicans (28)
  • Barack Obama (25)
  • Law (24)
  • Labor (23)
  • Spam (22)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (20)
  • International (19)
  • Economy (19)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site