The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. If you understand the following, simple statement, you are ahead of most economists, politicians and media writers in America: Our government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create the dollars to pay its bills.
Does this report from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget make you angry? Does it make you afraid? It should.
Analysis of the 2011 Social Security Trustees Report, May 13, 2011
Today, the Social Security Trustees released their 2011 report on the financial status of both Social Security and Medicare. The reports make clear that both programs are on unsustainable paths, and reforms will be necessary to make them solvent. This analysis focuses on the financial status of Social Security.
The latest Trustees report shows Social Security’s position has deteriorated since last year. The Trustees estimate that the 75-year actuarial imbalance has now increased to 0.8 percent of GDP (2.22 percent of taxable payroll) compared to 0.7 percent of GDP (1.92 percent of taxable payroll) in last year’s report. Over the coming decade, the Trustees project cash-flow deficits of about $490 billion (including $131 billion in 2021 alone), compared to about $380 billion in last year’s report.
The Trustees now estimate that the program will exhaust its dedicated trust funds (one for old-age and the other for disability) in 2036, a year earlier than the 2037 date projected in last year’s report. At that time, absent changes in law, all current and future beneficiaries would experience an immediate 23 percent cut in benefits.
Even more pressing is the state of the Disability Insurance trust fund, which (if not allowed to borrow from the rest of Social Security) will run out of money by 2018, only seven years from now.
According to the Trustees, making Social Security sustainably solvent would take savings equal to 0.8 percent of GDP (2.22 percent of payroll) over 75 years and 1.5 percent (4.24 percent of payroll) in the 75th year.
Well, did that make you angry or afraid? It should have, because it is based on a lie – a government lie – and having the federal government lie makes all of us especially angry and afraid.
The lie, very simply is the implication federal spending relies on federal taxes. Social Security and Medicare are federal programs. FICA taxes paid to the government are less than benefits paid. Based on this, the Trustees say these federal programs will “run out of money.” A lie.
Were it true, the entire federal government already has “run out of money,” because federal taxes, with very few exceptions, have been less than federal spending, every year in our nation’s history. So beginning in 1776, America has been on what the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget would call an “unsustainable” path and insolvent. Yet here we are, 235 years later, still “unsustainable,” still “insolvent” and still the most powerful nation on earth. Amazing, isn’t it?
Well, it would be amazing if you didn’t understand the federal government creates the dollars you use. It would be amazing if you believed federal taxes pay for federal spending and FICA pays for Social Security and Medicare. They don’t.
The U.S. is Monetarily Sovereign. If all federal taxes, including FICA, were reduced to $0 or increased to $100 trillion, neither event would affect by even one dollar, the solvency of any federal agency, including Social Security and Medicare. There is no functional relationship between federal taxes and federal spending. The federal government always pays its bills, regardless of taxes collected.
(The situation is different for states, counties and cities, which are not Monetarily Sovereignty, , so they do use tax money to pay their bills. The situation also is different for Greece, Ireland et al, which also are not Monetarily Sovereign. And the situation is different for you and me. We too, are not Monetarily Sovereign. For reasons I cannot explain, the federal government, the media, and even most economists, do not know the difference between Monetarily Sovereign and monetarily non-sovereign, and therein lies the problem.)
So yes, be afraid. Be very, very afraid, especially with both the Democrats and the Tea (formerly Republican) Parties believing our federal social programs must be cut. Your future and the futures of your children and grandchildren are in the hands of people who do not know what they are doing.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. It’s been 40 years since the U.S. became Monetary Sovereign, , and neither Congress, nor the President, nor the Fed, nor the vast majority of economists and economics bloggers, nor the preponderance of the media, nor the most famous educational institutions, nor the Nobel committee, nor the International Monetary Fund have yet acquired even the slightest notion of what that means.
Remember that the next time you’re tempted to ask a dopey teenager, “What were you thinking?” He’s liable to respond, “Pretty much what your generation was thinking when it screwed up my future.”