8 thoughts on “Forbes Post, “The Social Security Trust Fund Is Real – But So What?”

  1. This is a very confusing subject thanks to FDR’s selling the program to Americans by creating the term ‘trust fund’ to comfort fears. As you indicate, there is no separate pot of money here but just promises from the government, which are just as valid as a Treasury note’s promise to pay. Both based on the creditworthiness of the U.S.A.
    What I object to is the use of the terms ‘insolvent’ or ‘bankrupt ‘ when the paper accounting for accumulated payroll tax inflow becomes less than the paper accounting for SSN outflows. Since the left hand of the government can always borrow to fund the right hand, there can be no such thing as insolvency.

  2. A government bond is merely a promise by the government to collect money from future tax payers. The Social Security trust fund is government bonds. Without the power of the government to collect taxes it would be the same as nothing.

  3. Have searched for a while but have never found the Social Security Administration’s definition of a “Trust”. Hoping for commentary on this site when convenient…

  4. The entire discussion is intellectually dishonest except for the admission that one choice is to increase the tax All that has to be done is to increase the tax. All you have to do is look at the solvency of the Railroad Retirement Fund and see how it is maintained. Why doesn’t it increase: because business petitions congress not to raise the rates. INCREASE THE TAX.

  5. I think we need to let in immigrants, lots of them. This would help solve the issue of a large aging population (even after the baby boomers) being supported by a smaller group of young people.

  6. Jane, SSN has always run cashflow positive, putting money into the “trust fund”. As you say it went negative in the 1980s until they adjusted it, and just a few years ago it was getting close again. We know the trust fund (aka “lock box!”) theoretically contains trillions, but two questions (a) where are we today on cashflow, and (b) are we really going to be able to get anything back out of the trust fund? Thanks.

  7. I think that you ignore the point when you say that it is “real” because it is backed by the Federal Government or that we wouldn’t blink an eye if a private pension held government bonds. The real issue is not whether or not the money in the trust fund will be redeemed, the real issue is that it can only be redeemed by an increase in taxes or more borrowing. The government is spending the money that would be in the trust fund on other things and promising to pay it back in the future, but the only way to do that is more taxes. This is an enormous issue, it can’t be hand waved away by “yeah it’s technically real so don’t worry about it” or saying that the issue is the idea of the trust fund.

  8. I am retired and collecting s.s. benefits. I want a small chunk of the s.s. trust fund, to pay off my house. How do I get it?

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