Friday, August 20, 2010

Social Security as a Ponzi scheme

A letter to the editor in the Review Journal is reply to an earlier letter on Social Security. The letter states,
James Bragge had an interesting letter Friday, whereby he defended Social Security as being solvent, at least until 2037, and took issue with previous writer Tom Cameron's description of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme.

To quote Mr. Bragge, "The idea that Social Security is filled with IOUs is dishonest rhetoric promoted by partisan hacks. Social Security funds are invested in U.S. Treasury bonds and securities, the safest and most reliable securities in the world."

Oh really?

Actually, the $2.5 trillion in the trust fund (I use the term loosely) is not in the form of U.S. Treasury bonds, which can be bought and sold in the open market anywhere in the world. Nope, they are non-negotiable "special bonds," denominated in the billions, which can only be redeemed by the U.S. Treasury. They are in fact IOUs from one branch of the government to another.

Actually Social Security wasn't able to sustain itself before this economic collapse. In order to survive, it was necessary to raise the percentage taken from your pay from 1% to over 7%. It was also necessary to set to raise the age of eligibility.

The fact is that Social Security cannot survive as it is today.

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