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Please begin with an informative title:


A few Questions:

As Americans, aren't we Entitled to: 'be secure in your persons, houses, papers, and effects' ?

As Americans, aren't we Entitled to: 'to keep and bear Arms' ?

As Americans, aren't we Entitled to: 'freedom of speech' and 'freedom of the press' ?

As Americans, aren't we Entitled to: 'peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government' about our 'grievances' ?


Yes. Yes. Yes. and Yes.


YES, As Americans, we are Entitled to all these things and more -- but more importantly, as Americans, we HAVE A RIGHT to all these things.

Rights granted to us by the Founding Fathers document, known as the Bill of Rights.


Entitlements is just another word for Rights.

Yes, we expect Social Security Benefits, to provide for Society's 'General Welfare' -- to be PAID IN FULL as we were promised.

NOT only are we Entitled to those Benefits, legally we have a Right to such "Repayment Claims" for all the FICA Taxes that, as workers, we have already paid.

-- Claims, that are in fact they are "backed by the full faith and credit" of the U.S. Government.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).


Today's Talking-Points, citizen Rights seminar, is now in session ...


[1]

The finances of the Social Security program are separated by law from the rest of the federal government.

[2]
The Social Security program levies its own taxes.

[3]
{FICA} Tax income is deposited on a daily basis and is invested in "special-issue" securities. The cash exchanged for the securities goes into the General Fund of the Treasury and is indistinguishable from other cash in the General Fund.

[4]
The government pays interest to the Trust Funds. The government owes the money which the {Social Security} Trust Funds have loaned to it and will have to repay it as the securities come due.

[5]
Special {Security} issues can be redeemed at any time at face value {from the General Fund}.

[6]
According to a September report by the Congressional Research Service, the two wars have already cost $1.1 Trillion.

Given those Facts what Conclusions can we deduce?

(1) The General Fund owes a Debt to the Social Security Trust Fund, NOT the other way around.

(2) Those who pay into the Social Security Trust Fund do NOT owe the General Fund anything, least of all anymore of our Benefits.

(3) The workers who pay FICA Taxes have a Legal Right to Full Repayment of those Trust Funds and its Benefits, with interest.

(4) The General Fund needs to raise its own Taxes, to repay the Trust Fund, for the Special IOUs it signed, in exchange for the use of American Workers Retirement funds.

(5) When a Government runs up a huge National Debt, that is NOT the fault, NOR the problem, of Trust Fund participants, us, who only lent them the money.  They Owe Us -- NOT vice versa.

(6) The GOP and their Wealthy donors should be willing to LET the Bush Tax Cuts expire, and begin to pay their "fair share" -- just because of the "Enhanced Security" they now enjoy ... due to those IOU-Funded Wars, of the last decade.  Whether they were Billion Dollar Wars in the shadows; or Billion Dollar Wars fought under the flag of Patriotism.

Either way the GOP is trying to put them on OUR Tab -- the Social Security Tab of Every American.


and one more Fact to add to the Discussion:


[7]

The GDP increase per dollar of budgetary cost is in the range of 1.6, 1.7 for things like food stamps and unemployment benefits, and in the range of .35 for extending the Bush tax cuts.
in other words:
   Expect a $1.70 return for every Bottom Up $1.00 invested,
   and ONLY a $0.35 return for every Top Down $1.00 invested.


and the Conclusion?

(7) Continuing Tax Cuts to the Wealthy, will continue to result a very poor return on that "Top Down" Investment;  and will do little to pay back the Trust Fund, what it's owed.

Money spent on "Bottom Up" activities and on employing working class people, like throwing a lifeline to the 99ers -- like paying SENIORS Surviving ON A FIXED INCOME, what they are owed -- is a much better way to "jump start" the Economy, for the the long run -- because the Spending Multiplier effect, than is more Tax Cut Welfare to the Wealthy.

People who SPEND their Income do more to Grow the Economy --
5 TIMES MORE than do {Wealthy} People who stash those extra bucks away.

[There is a return about $1.70 on each "Bottom Up" dollar spent vs. a miserly 35 Cent Return for each "Top Down" dollar gifted away.]



Nitty Gritty Extra Credit -- Where do our FICA Taxes Go ?


Social Security Online -- Trust Fund Data

Trust Fund FAQs

How are the trust funds invested?

By law, income to the trust funds must be invested, on a daily basis, in securities guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the Federal government. All securities held by the trust funds are "special issues" of the United States Treasury.  Such securities are available only to the trust funds.

In the past, the trust funds have held marketable Treasury securities, which are available to the general public. Unlike marketable securities, special issues can be redeemed at any time at face value. [...]


What happens to the [FICA] taxes that go into the trust funds?

Tax income is deposited on a daily basis and is invested in "special-issue" securities. The cash exchanged for the securities goes into the general fund of the Treasury and is indistinguishable from other cash in the general fund.


And what does the General Fund do with those FICA IOUs?

Duh -- They Spend em!  ... on things like Wars, and Doughnut Holes, and other unpaid for Mandates.


Extra Credit 2 -- WHO has the Legal Obligation to Repay those IOUs to SS someday, with Interest?


Fast Facts -- Trust Fund/General Fund

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

24.4 Surpluses now accumulating are invested in special issues of treasury securities, which earn interest. Who pays the interest? Is this not the same as writing yourself an IOU?

The investments of the trust funds in government securities are an investment in the same way that the purchase of government securities by private investors is an investment that earns interest. In both cases, the General Fund of the Treasury pays the interest.


24.5 Please clarify the earlier question about the federal government owing the trust funds over $600 billion. Is this true?

The government pays interest to the trust funds. The government owes the money which the trust funds have loaned to it and will have to repay it as the securities come due.


There's the Bookkeeper's obscure little secret -- it is the General Fund (and by default the General Taxpayer) that has the Problem -- NOT the Social Security Trust Fund and its Bond Holders -- US!  (and NOT our retired friends and family.)

They OWE Us -- We (the working FICA Tax-payer) do NOT Owe them.


George W. Bush and Company borrowed Billions from the Trust Fund -- and gave away Billions in an Era when Vice President Cheney proclaimed that [8]

"Deficits Don't Matter."
Perhaps those War debts did NOT matter to him -- but they should have mattered to US, since we the "Future Entitlees",  we funded that Debt with our dutiful SS payments.


We lent it.  They spent it.


What ever happened to the "Full Faith and Credit of the U.S. Govt" that is supposed to be "backing up" those Special Securities --  BY LAW ?

The General Fund had a grand ole time borrowing from OUR Trust Funds Retirement Funds from our Trust Fund Lock Box -- SO why can't they find the will and the gumption to PAY BACK those IOU's that we are still OWED?

Fair is only fair.


Why are OUR Retirement Benefits STILL ON THE TABLE -- When all we did is "Float W. the Loan" in the first place?  

Are our Trust Funds still funding those oh-so-complicated, never-ending Wars?


http://www.dailykos.com/...


Al Gore was Right -- the Social Security Trust Fund did very much need a "Lock Box".  

And most likely still very much does.

We should strengthen the Social Security Trust Fund -- NOT make it weaker.   We should be lifting the FICA Tax Ceiling -- raise it to the 1st Million of Income.


OUR SS Trust Fund IOU Claims are STILL valid -- we are still owed, what we're due --

at least until, the GOP Merchants of Irresponsibility succeed in their on-going endless "war of words"  -- a war that seeks turn our Rights, our Entitlements -- into a Bad Thing.


Perhaps as Democrats, perhaps as Progressives, perhaps as Independents, WE would do well to remind those Austerity Salesmen about our foundational roots:

The Constitution of the United States -- Section. 8

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;


... in short, we need to remind them:

Entitlements is just another word for Rights.

In fact they're they're synonymous.


Hopefully the American People still believe in those.  

Rights -- and the Full Faith and Credit of the U.S. Government.



=== Sources ====

[1] The Impact of Social Security on the National Debt by James D. Agresti and the Staff of Just Facts -- Sep 1, 2001

[2] Ibid.

[3] Social Security Online -- Trust Fund Data

[4] Fast Facts -- Trust Fund/General Fund

[5] Ibid.

[6] Trimming a bloated defense budget by Eugene Robinson, WashingtonPost -- Nov 16, 2010

[7] Extending Bush Tax Cuts WON'T Create Jobs, Says Leading Economist by Laura Bassett, HuffingtonPost - Jul 28, 2010

[8] Cheney to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, On the Issues, Reuters -- Jan 11, 2004

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 08:59 AM PST.

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