So why are we talking about a Social Security crisis?

i don’t have time to track it down now, but i was once doing some research on supreme court cases relevant to social security, and i did discover that the court ruled that the highway trust fund – funded, just like social security with a dedicated tax – is not fungible, that the dollars in the trust fund must be used for the purposes congress defined in establishing the trust fund.

so i can’t see how that same logic doesn’t apply to social security, which is to say that in addition to the two key points that our host already made here, there is a third: there is supreme court precedent that trust funds are, in fact, trust funds and not merely another name for an otherwise fungible piece of federal revenues.

I think you know the answer to this as well as I do, Mr

Krugman, and are merely posing a rhetorical question to us. The reason that Social Security has been made into such a boogeyman is that paying back those bonds, once such monies are needed, would require one of two things: A cut in expenditures by the rest of the federal government on their favorite pork-barrel policies or an increase in the federal tax rate. As the former is unthinkable, and the latter would most likely mean an actual long-overdue tax on the wealthiest of this country, it is politically easier to vilify Social Security as being “evil socialism” than it is to confront the real socioeconomic issues confronting our country.

If they roll back Social Security, let them roll back the payroll tax at the same time. Fair is fair.

Why? Because the WS money managers want to manage that huge chunks of money. How dare someone, government pay, manage it responsibly with ?

While they may not show up for work very much, why is it that no one has pointed out that these candidates could introduce their “what I would do if I were president” proposals RIGHT NOW.

The banking crisis is a right now thing; why should the candidates wait until to introduce legislation to fix immediate problems?

Just as they rob the fund now to spend on other things, they will cut back on ‘entitlements’ when the overall budget is in trouble

What’s to stop the Administration from trading those government bonds for private companies’ slush pile of supposedly equally valuable home mortgage sausag, er, securities, using those as the collateral for Social Security?

I’m not playing dumb here, I really don’t understand if there is any protection against this kind of “let’s pretend it’s a fair trade” stuff.

I remember in the 1980’s as deficits were climbing they used to tell us not to worry about the debt “because we owed it to ourselves.”

Maybe what they really meant was that they owed a great part of the debt to us and when the time came they would be happy to repudiate it?

Or maybe the plan is to switch Social Security back to a “pay as you go” basis and always keep a little more coming in than going out.

Well, in a very real sense, if there is a future budget crisis, there will be a future social security crisis. I think the main problem with social security surpluses is that government can’t be trusted to keep its hands off the money. Better to allow the private sector to keep the money, where more of it is actually likely to be saved, and then raise taxes when the money is needed. Anyway, that is my take on why the increase in social security revenues needed to be offset by tax cuts.

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