The Carpetbagger Report
brings us this from today's White House presser.
A reporter asked Scott McClellan about the president's belief that the current Social Security system "leaves behind file cabinets full of IOUs." The journalist asked if the president is suggesting that there's a possibly that the government would default on the sovereign debt of the United States. It was a simple question -- the right answer was "no" -- but McClellan refused to cooperate.
"I think that the President, if you'll recall, went to West Virginia and stood in front of the file cabinet to point out to people what the trust fund really is. I mean, most people when they think of a trust fund, I think you would agree, believe that money is being set aside in account, and that it's their money and that they're going to receive that money back. Well, that's not the case. In terms of the so-called Social Security trust fund, it is a file cabinet of paper IOUs. And that's what it is."
Though he didn't call them worthless IOUs, the point seems clear that the Bush admin sees little of value in these IOUs.
I wish one of the press would have asked Scottie to explain the difference between a Treasury note and an IOU. Both are documents of a loan, at some level. Some clarification would be illuminating.
Scottie makes the point of calling them paper IOUs - as if there are other, more tangible forms of IOU. Are we to believe that paper is now a sign of irrelevance?
Does this mean we can all default on mortgages and laugh at the banks and their silly slips of paper? Somehow, I doubt this very much. Obviously, Scotty needs to clear this up for us.
In fairness though, the Press did press him. Scotty got even murkier.
"What is happening now under the current Social Security system, as the President has talked about, is a pay-as-you-go system. Money is being paid in to support today's retirees. So that money is not being set aside, it's being spent by the government. And the President, one thing he has talked about, is the importance of personal accounts.... Personal accounts will be something that is your money, it's being set aside, it's real savings. It's not phantom savings."
Phantom savings? What on Earth is he talking about, if not an intent to default? This is sheer insanity.
Remember, this is money that that Americans paid into Social Security, explicitly. It was not for roads, bridges, wars, or phantom defense shields. It was withheld for Social Security and Social Security alone. If it is now a phantom, then where the fuck is our money, Scotty?
We really need to hold their feet to the fire on this. We need real and tangible answers to the questions Bush (and underling Scotty) have raised about where our money has gone.