How you completely can misunderstand Social Security

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..

In the unlikely event you hope to be clueless about Social Security, boy, have I got an article for you. Here are some excerpts:

Social Security on track for ‘large, abrupt’ cuts in 17 years unless Congress acts
Ethan Wolff-Mann, Yahoo Finance, July 14, 2017 (Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, tech, and personal finance. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann. )

The Social Security and Medicare trustees issued their 2017 annual report on Thursday, and it began with an alarm bell.

“Both Social Security and Medicare face long-term financing shortfalls under currently scheduled benefits and financing,” the trustees wrote in the summary of the 268-page document. “The Trustees recommend that lawmakers take action sooner rather than later to address these shortfalls.”

O.K., that part is true. Under currently scheduled benefits and financing, there won’t be enough money.

Insolvency is on track for 2028 for the disability fund and 2034 for seniors. Insolvent, however, does not mean empty; it means that the funds would not be able to completely fulfill its debts to the public.

You may think of these “funds” as being like money pots, into which your FICA dollars are placed, and Social Security dollars are removed. And when the pots run out of dollars, that is called “insolvency.”

Image result for bookkeeping columns
The government invented the dollar and owns the books. It can enter any numbers it chooses.



The so-called “funds” are nothing more than bookkeeping accounts over which our Monetarily Sovereign federal government has absolute, 100% control.

The federal government owns the “books” and has the unlimited power to enter any numbers it chooses into those accounts.

If a “fund” shows $1 million, and the government wishes to spend $2 million, the federal government simply can change the “1” to a “2.”  Or a “10.” That is what the word “Sovereign” in Monetarily Sovereign means.

If you wonder how it is possible for the federal government arbitrarily to change the dollar value in the “fund,” remember that the government has made many such arbitrary changes with our money.

The U.S. government invented the dollar — created it out of thin air — and arbitrarily gave it a value. The Coinage Act of 1792 mandated that a “dollar” be between 371 and 416 grains of silver.

The government could have mandated any value for the dollar. It arbitrarily chose 371-416 grains of silver. It could have chosen three French hens, two turtle doves, or a partridge in a pear tree.

The federal government had, and still retains, absolute power over the dollar, the value of the dollar and the bookkeeping for the dollar.

Since our beginnings, the federal government has exercised absolute power over the value of the dollar, repeatedly, arbitrarily valuing, revaluing and devaluing the dollar relative to gold and to silver.

The most recent value was $35 per ounce of gold until in 1971, President Nixon arbitrarily said the dollar’s value would not be measured against gold.

We describe a corollary to this process here, where we use the game of Monopoly as an example.

A root cause for the financial woes for Medicare and Social Security is the aging baby boomer population, and the trustees estimate the cost jumps will be higher than any GDP growth that could potentially offset things.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have not made progress addressing the difference between these two numbers by raising more money, raising the retirement age or dialing back payments.

The phrase “raising more money” is misleading. The federal government never needs to “raise” money. It creates dollars, ad hoc, every time it pays a bill.

To pay a creditor, the federal government sends instructions (not dollars) to the creditor’s bank, instructing the bank to increase the balance in the creditor’s checking account. These instructions can be in the form of a check or a wire.

The instant the bank obeys those instructions, new dollars are created and added to the money supply.

Thus, to pay all your Social Security benefits, the federal government sends instructions to your bank, telling your bank to increase the balance in your checking account. Because our Monetarily Sovereign government never can run short of instructions, it cannot run short of dollars.

“The gap is getting bigger, and politicians have their heads in the sand,” said Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

The CRFB is owned, operated, and financed by the rich, whose goal is to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest.  For many years, they continually have tried to cut federal spending on all social benefits.

They promulgate the “Big Lie” that federal taxes fund federal spending. The truth is, the federal government (unlike state and local governments) neither needs nor uses tax dollars. It created brand new dollars, every time it pays a bill.

Politically, the available options are incredibly explosive. Raising taxes is unpopular, and restricting payments to seniors is also unpopular. This leaves both Democrats and Republicans at an impasse.

It is a self-created “impasse,” since the federal government has the unlimited power to send instructions to banks, i.e. to create dollars.  The government never can run short of instructions or dollars.

Lawmakers have proposed changing how benefits are calculated, raising the payroll tax slightly, or subjecting all wages to payroll taxes (right now, wages up to $127,200 get taxed for Social Security).

For example, raising the payroll tax 0.7% and subjecting all wages to payroll tax would keep the program solvent for another 75 years. However, it would still be on a road to running out.

On the benefit-cutting side, slowing benefit growth for the top 70% of earners, increasing the retirement age, and modifying cost-of-living adjustments would close the funding gap, but also not permanently.

All of these so-called “options” are utter nonsense, based on the ridiculous premise that the federal government can run short of its own sovereign currency.

State and local governments can run short of dollars; businesses can run short of dollars; you and I can run short of dollars.

But the U.S. federal government never has, and never will run short of the currency it originally created from thin air, and still creates simply by sending instructions to banks.

The so-called Social Security “trust fund” is a bookkeeping account, that the federal government can change at will. So, why doesn’t it?

Why doesn’t the federal government simply admit the fact that it can pay any bill of any size at any time? Why doesn’t the federal government admit that neither it, nor any of its agencies, can be “insolvent,” unless that is what it wants to happen?

Why doesn’t the federal government provide Social Security to every man, woman, and child in America?

Two reasons:

  1. Some fear that if the public understood the truth, people would make endless demands on the government. The myth of money scarcity provides a rationale for limiting federal benefit payments.
  2. The rich want to widen the Gap between them and the rest. It is the Gap that makes them rich (Without the Gap we all would be the same), and the wider the Gap the richer they are. The rich bribe the politicians with campaign contributions; they bribe the media with advertising dollars and ownership; and they bribe the economists with university contributions and with “think tank” salaries.

In summary, our Monetarily Sovereign federal government has absolute and arbitrary control over the supply of dollars and the value of those dollars (inflation). Even if all federal taxes were $0, the federal government could continue spending forever.

FICA could be eliminated and Social Security benefits could be doubled. The government has that power.

Thus, there is no danger to Social Security other than the false “insolvency” danger arbitrarily and unnecessarily placed on it by the federal government.

All those who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty do not understand Social Security financing.

But now, you no longer misunderstand Social Security.

Pass it on.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty


The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.

Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.

Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.


6 thoughts on “How you completely can misunderstand Social Security

  1. Why isn’t the military “insolvent”?

    House passes $696.5B defense policy bill
    BY ELLEN MITCHELL – 07/14/17 02:10 PM EDT

    The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed a wide-ranging, $696.5 billion defense policy bill that goes far above President Trump’s budget request.

    Lawmakers voted 344-81 on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which broadly lays out policy and spending rules for the Pentagon and the military branches.

    The bill would authorize $621.5 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget and Energy Department nuclear programs and $75 billion for war funding, known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. In addition, the bill takes $10 billion in OCO dollars to pay for base budget needs.

    Only eight Republicans voted against the legislation, which passes Trump’s defense request of $603 billion.

    Our Monetarily Sovereign federal government never can run short of dollars. That is the meaning of Monetary Sovereignty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rodger, Have you ever thought of writing a book about MS? Since you write in layman’s terms it should be understandable for laypersons to follow. You could call it, “Modern Money for Dummies”. the For Dummies crowd will possibly be interested in making it available.Think about it?


      1. The book, entitled “Free Money” was my epiphany on the monetary system. I have bought and given away at least ten copies. Yet, there are still hardheads out there who refuse to see reason.


        1. The usual excuses are “too good to be true” and “finite resources” stemming from the Dark Ages of economic thinking beginning with Malthusian survival of the fittest and scarcity’s “not enough to go around.”


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