Excerpts from Maya MacGuineas completely wrong testimony to Congress Thursday, Dec 20 2018 

Today, Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, told Congress dozens of lies — O.K., “incorrect non-facts.”.

The primary purpose of these “incorrect non-facts” is to support the myth that somehow our Monetarily Sovereign federal government will run short of dollars to pay its bills, and therefore, spending (especially social benefit spending) must be cut.

This myth is exactly what the rich want you to believe, so they can reduce your Social Security, cut your Medicare, eliminate poverty prevention and cure, worsen education for your children, and destroy many of the other benefits to the middle-income and the poor.

The motive has to do with Gap Psychology, which we previously have discussed many times, including here,  here and here. It is the human desire to distance oneself from those below on any scale, and to near those above

The following represent just a few excerpts from her MacGuineas’s speech.

Testimony of Maya MacGuineas
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Hearing before the House Financial Services Committee: The Peril of an Ignored National Debt

I will touch on several points today:

1.The national debt is on an unsustainable path.

2.There are many reasons to care about the debt, ranging from detrimental effects on the economy, to interest payments crowding out the rest of the budget, to the economic, political, and security vulnerabilities of such a large debt.

3.There are many approaches Congress can take to fix the debt, but we must stop denying the problem, stop making it worse, and begin to address it.

The so-called national “debt” actually is the total of everyone’s (yours, mine, China’s) deposits into all our Treasury security accounts.

As these deposit accounts mature, the federal government pays them off by returning to our checking accounts the dollars that are in the accounts.

(The dollars remain in our T-security accounts until maturity. The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither borrows nor uses these dollars. It creates new dollars every time it pays a creditor).

Thus, paying off the so-called debt is no burden on the federal government or on taxpayers. It simply is a money transfer from one (T-security) of our accounts to another (checking) of our accounts. Tax dollars are not involved.

The federal “debt” (deposits) totaled $40 Billion in 1940. Today, the “debt” is $16 Trillion, a 40,000% increase. Every year since then, pundits have claimed the debt is “unsustainable,” “a ticking time bomb,” and/or in some other way, “detrimental to our economy.” See: “From ticking time bomb to looming collapse.”

But, in that same 1940 – 2018 period, the Gross Domestic Product has grown from $102 Billion to more than $20 Trillion. Yet still, we hear the obviously wrong incessant claim that the federal “debt” (deposits) is unsustainable.

To make matters worse, debt is expected to grow drastically in the coming decades. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), debt under current law will grow from 78% of GDP this year to exceed the size of the economy in just 13 years and reach an unprecedented 152% of GDP in 30 years. Our estimates suggest debt under current law will reach 358% of GDP in 75 years.

The federal “debt” / GDP ratio is meaningless. The “debt” is not paid off with GDP. The two are unrelated.  Japan, a wealthy nation, had a debt / GDP ratio of 253% in 2017, yet its debt remains “sustainable.

Putting debt on a sustainable path will require significant deficit reduction.

•Simply holding debt at today’s near-record as a share of GDP (78%) would require savings of $4.8 trillion of spending cuts and/or tax hikes over the next decade.

•Balancing the budget in 2028 would require about $7 trillion in savings over ten years.

•Reducing debt to its historical average of 41% of GDP in 30 years would require $7.6 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years.

•And waiting just ten years increases the size of the adjustments by half.

MacGuineas neglected to tell Congress that every depression in U.S. history was caused by a reduction in U.S. debt:

1804-1812: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 48%. Depression began 1807.
1817-1821: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 29%. Depression began 1819.
1823-1836: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 99%. Depression began 1837.
1852-1857: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 59%. Depression began 1857.
1867-1873: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 27%. Depression began 1873.
1880-1893: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 57%. Depression began 1893.
1920-1930: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 36%. Depression began 1929.
1997-2001: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 15%. Recession began 2001.

And recessions begin with reductions in deficit growth.

Reductions in federal debt growth lead to inflation

Blue line = deficit growth. Vertical gray bars = recessions. Recessions are cured by increases in deficit growth.

The reason for this effect is simple: Deficits add dollars to the economy, and these added dollars are necessary for economic growth.

Macguineas’s article continues:

The risks and consequences of high and rising debt include:

•Slower economic and income growth due to debt crowding out private sector investment. As the government issues more debt, investors buy these bonds in place of private investment. Over time, this results in a smaller stock of buildings, machines, and equipment; fewer new ventures and new technologies; and slower wage growth. CBO estimates average income will be $6,000 ( 6%) lower in 2048 if we allow debt to rise rather than reduce it to historical levels.

Completely false. There is no crowding out. Higher debt results from federal deficit spending which adds investment dollars to the economy.

That is why massive debt growth has paralleled massive economic growth.

MacGuineas ignores these obvious facts.

•Higher interest rates on loans for households and businesses. Rising federal debt tends to put upward pressure on interest rates throughout the economy. This increase trickles into business and consumer loans, making it more expensive for Americans to take out mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt – not to mention small business loans and other borrowing that helps grow the economy.

Interest rates have remained low in past years despite growing debt due to Federal Reserve accommodation and a slow recovery, but there is a very strong risk those conditions will and have started to change as the economy has gotten stronger, the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy, and we come closer to full employment.

Federal “debt” does not put pressure on interest rates. The Fed sets rates to combat inflation, not to sell federal “debt.”

Further, federal debt does not cause inflation, which instead is caused by shortages. Historically, they have been shortages of food, but more recently, they have been shortages of oil. See: Federal deficit spending doesn’t cause inflation; oil does.

•Higher government interest payments that displace other government priorities. Due to rising interest rates and an increasing stock of debt, interest payments are projected to be the fastest growing part of the federal budget.

Under current law, interest costs will tripleover the next decade. As a result, interest costs will exceed Medicaid spending by 2020, defense spending by 2023, and total discretionary spending by 2045.

We estimate that before 2050, net interest will be the single largest line item in the budget.

In the above comment about “displacing other government priorities,” MacGuineas makes the tacit and false assumption that the federal government can run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.

Because our Monetarily Sovereign federal government has the infinite ability to create dollars, the notion of “displacing” makes no sense.

Clearly, MacGuineas either does not understand Monetary Sovereignty, or she doesn’t want you to understand Monetary Sovereignty.

Reduced fiscal space for the government to react to wars, recessions, or other emergencies. It is impossible to predict the timing of the next recession. However, the fact that one has not occurred in the last nine years suggests another may be on the horizon.

Unless there is a dramatic reduction in debt, we will enter the next recession with the highest debt in nearly 70 years (and higher than any time prior to World War II). This leads to legitimate concerns about the available “fiscal space” in the U.S., or the federal government’s financial capacity and willingness to respond to emergencies.

While it is impossible to know the precise amount available, the U.S. almost certainly has less fiscal space today than it did a decade ago, and it is projected to have even less in the coming years. The U.S. is less equipped to handle the next recession than it was in handling the Great Recession.

The “precise amount available” is infinite. That is why it’s impossible to know.

The “fiscal space” argument is identical with the “displace other priorities” argument. Again, MacGuineas wants you to believe the federal government can run short of its own sovereign currency.

While you and I, and the cities and states, and even the euro nations can run short of money, the U.S federal government cannot unintentionally run short of dollars.

•Lost opportunities to make thoughtful investments or reforms. Rising debt hinders our ability to enact good public policy. Whether you care about strengthening the military, developing clean energy, reducing burdensome taxes, or investing in education and infrastructure, rising debt will crowd it out.

Thanks to the increasing debt burden, next year the country will spend more on interest than on children, which means we will be spending more on financing our past than investing in our future.

And there are many new issues on the horizon, from the effects of technology to the future of work to new types of global threats that we are only just developing the capacity to withstand. As time goes on, we will increasingly lose the capability to address our debt situation through thoughtful, gradual, and targeted tax and spending reforms. At some point in the near future, our debt will be so high we will have to forgo new ideas and impose blunt spending cuts and tax hikes.

Hinders our ability” is another statement of “crowding out,” and “reducing fiscal space.” MacGuineas keeps repeating the same false premise, just using different words

•Risk of an eventual fiscal crisis if changes are not made. The combination of our strong economy, steady monetary policy, and longstanding commitment to pay our debts has allowed us to amass significant debt without severe consequences. This will not last forever. Unsustainable debt may eventually lead some investors to demand higher interest rates, which could set off a chain of events that begins with a small selloff of existing federal bonds and ends with a global financial crisis.

No one knows what level of debt or combination of events would set off such a crisis ; I hope we will never have to find out.

The Fed, not investors, sets interest rates. Unlike with private bonds, demand is not an issue for federal bonds. If no one wished to buy federal bonds, the Federal Reserve could buy them, which is often has. (This is known as “Quantitative Easing.”)

In any event, the Treasury does not need to sell bonds to obtain dollars. It has an infinite supply of dollars.

Instead, the two most important reasons why the Treasury issues T-securities are:

  1. To provide a safe place to “park” unused dollars. This safety helps stabilize the dollar.
  2. To assist the Fed in controlling interest rates, which helps fight inflation.

Thus, the reasons for issuing of federal debt (aka “borrowing”) are quite unlike the reasons why you and I borrow.

Our Monetarily Sovereign federal government could stop issuing debt today — even stop collecting taxes today — and still retain the unlimited ability to pay for goods and services, forever.

Those unconcerned about our rising debt have sometimes pointed to the built- up debt in recent years as evidence that the United States can borrow with little consequence. That’s a mistake.

China owns $1.1 trillion of U.S. debt. Trade and other tensions with them can certainly affect their lending decisions. Moreover, given our unstable political relationship with China, it is less than ideal to be as dependent on them as we are for funds.

Japan, which holds another $1 trillion of our debt, has also halted net purchases – possibly due to its aging population.

As the population continues to age, this nation of savers is likely to draw down its savings to finance retirement and therefore have fewer assets available to purchase U.S. debt.

Currently, foreign investors and governments own about 40% of the publicly traded debt, a percentage that has decreased in recent years as China and Japan have pulled back and forced domestic investors to finance our debt instead.

As we’ve said, the federal government does not need to sell debt to anyone — not to China, not to Japan, not to you or me, not to anyone.

Further, “domestic investors” are not forced to do anything. I know of no “forcing” device the federal government uses to sell T-bonds. It’s all nonsense.

And now we come to the real reason why MacGuineas spreads the Big Lie that the federal government is running short of dollars:

The primary drivers of long-term debt are growing mandatory spending and the lack of revenue to pay for it. Over the next ten years, 82% of spending growth will be due to Social Security, health programs, and interest payments.

Mandatory spending, specifically the costs stemming from an aging population, remains the largest long-term problem to address. Congress should have offset the increased discretionary funding with mandatory cuts and revenues that led to growing deficit reduction over time.

The fastest growing parts of the budget are Social Security, health programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and interest payments on the debt – each of which does not go through the annual appropriations process and is growing faster than the economy.

Mandatory spending and interest have already grown from 61% of the budget in 2010 to 69% today, and they are projected to be at 77% in 2028.

Get it? Her pay comes from the wealthy. So, on behalf of the wealthy, she wants the government to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, programs that are vital for the middle classes and the poor, but mean little to the rich.

In short, the rich want to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest, and MacGuineas acts as their mouthpiece.

One of the many reasons this concerns me is the extent to which it has squeezed productive investments.

The best first step our leaders could make is to pledge to not make the debt situation worse(unless there is a smart reason to borrow such as a recession).

Squeezed productive investments” is yet another synonym for “hinders our ability,”  “crowding out,” and “reducing fiscal space.” It’s completely phony when referring to a Monetarily Sovereign government.

And notice she acknowledges that deficit spending is good during a recession (because deficit spending grows the economy), but she doesn’t want to grow the economy unless we have a recession. That’s totally illogical.

Lawmakers should focus on making changes to two of the largest drivers of our long-term debt problem: health care spending and Social Security. Reforms in these areas have the most potential for significant savings, and it would be between difficult and impossible to control our debt problem without making changes to these programs.

The largest driver of future costs is health care. The other major area needing attention is Social Security. The program’s trust fund is on track to exhaust its reserves by 2034, at which point benefits will be cut by 20% to 25% without legislative action to stop it.

Starting this year, the Social Security trust fund is being drawn down to pay benefits, meaning that the government must borrow from elsewhere so that Social Security can redeem its trust fund reserves.

In other words, Social Security is increasing the current deficit and will continue to do so dramatically in the future if the program is not reformed.

We can fix this program by adjusting benefits, raising revenues, or both.

First, there is no Social Security Trust Fund. It’s an accounting fiction. See: “The End of Social Security.” Being Monetarily Sovereign, the federal government has no need for Trust Funds. See: “Fake federal trust funds and fake concerns.”

In fact, get this:

The Supplemental Medical Insurance fund, which pays for Medicare Part B and Part D benefits, is funded by Congress. It doesn’t rely on a “trust fund.” Congress directly authorizes what funds are needed.

So, while Medicare and Social Security supposedly are paid through trust funds, in reality, half of Medicare doesn’t even pretend to go through a “trust fund.”

Second, “raising revenues: means increasing FICA, which is deducted from salaries. The rich, who do not receive most of their income via salaries, don’t care about FICA, and in any event, the salary from which FICA is deducted is a comparatively piddling $100K.

This all demonstrates that the federal government has the unlimited ability to fund Social Security and Medicare forever, with no trust funds and not even a FICA tax.

In Summary:

The rich, who run America, want to widen the Gap between them and the rest of the populace.

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 don’t want you to understand that:
1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of money
2. Deficits increase the supply of money
3. Therefore, deficits grow the economy
4. The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, never can run short of dollars with which to pay its creditors

They just don’t want you to know it.
They want you to believe the government can’t afford to pay for benefits like Medicare for All, free college for all, and anti-poverty initiatives.

They certainly don’t want you to ask for the Ten Steps to Prosperity (below).

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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

2. Federally funded medicare — parts a, b & d, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

AARP spreads the usual Social Security myths Sunday, Nov 25 2018 

Federal finances are different from your personal finances. They also are different from city, county, and state finances. And they are different from business finances.

How different?

  1. The U.S. federal government cannot unintentionally run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.
  2. The federal government does not use or need tax income, in order to pay its bills.
  3. The federal government cannot become insolvent, no matter how high its financial responsibilities.

Who says so?

Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

Alan Greenspan: “Central banks can issue currency, a non-interest-bearing claim on the government, effectively without limit. A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

St. Louis Federal Reserve: “As the sole manufacturer of dollars, whose debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government can never become insolvent, i.e.,unable to pay its bills. In this sense, the government is not dependent on credit markets to remain operational.

In short, even if all federal tax collections were $0, the federal government could continue paying its bills, forever.

Yet the AARP, repeatedly spreads the false idea that federal finances are like personal finances and so, Social Security can run short of dollars.

Here are excerpts from their latest “informational article” with regard to Social Security:

12 Top Things to Know About Social Security
Understanding the program that helps secure your future
by Kenneth Terrell, AARP Bulletin, November 2018

1. Social Security is not going bankrupt

At the moment, you could say the opposite; the Social Security trust funds are near an all-time high. “The program really is in good shape right now,” says David Certner, AARP’s legislative policy director. “But we know it has a long-term financial challenge.”

Here’s why: For decades, Social Security collected more money than it paid out in benefits. The surplus money collected from payroll taxes each year got invested in Treasury securities; today, the trust fund reserves are worth about $2.89 trillion.

But as the birth rate has fallen and more boomers retire, the ratio of workers to Social Security recipients is changing. This year is a tipping point: The program will need to dip into its reserves to pay full benefits from this point forward, absent any change to the program.

It’s now forecast that the trust fund reserves could be exhausted in 2034. “The longer we wait to fix Social Security funding, the more the cost will be paid by the younger generations, either on the tax side or the benefits side,” says Kathleen Romig, a Social Security analyst at the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The above is the classic “Social Security finances are like your finances” myth. But, the federal government does not pay its bills out of “trust funds” as the term ordinarily is used:

From the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury: The Federal Government uses the term “trust fund” differently than the way in which it is commonly used.

In common usage, the term is used to refer to a private fund that has a beneficiary who owns the trust’s income and may also own the trust’s assets.

A custodian or trustee manages the assets on behalf of the beneficiary according to the terms of the trust agreement, as established by a trustor.

Neither the trustee nor the beneficiary can change the terms of the trust agreement; only the trustor can change the terms of the agreement.

In contrast, the Federal Government owns and manages the assets and the earnings of most Federal trust funds and can unilaterally change the law to raise or lower future trust fund collections and payments or change the purpose for which the collections are used.

Although AARP speaks about the Social Security “trust fund” having a “financial challenge” and reserves “could be exhausted,” the truth is that the federal government has 100% control over the “fund.”

It has the unlimited power to add dollars, deduct dollars, or do anything else it wishes. It could eliminate the “trust fund” and the FICA tax completely, and still continue to pay Social Security benefits.

2. Congress probably will not take up Social Security reform anytime soon

Several members of Congress have proposed legislation to address the program’s long-term funding issues.

But given the deep political divides on Capitol Hill, it’s unlikely that Congress will make any effort to reform Social Security until there’s the possibility of bipartisan support.

There are concerns that the tax-cut legislation passed in late 2017 could lead some lawmakers to look for places where they might cut spending. “The stage has been set by the tax bill to take another run at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” says Max Richtman, CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Here, the myth is that taxes, especially FICA, pay for Social Security benefits. Though state and local taxes do fund state and local spending, federal taxes pay for nothing.

In fact, federal taxes are destroyed upon receipt at the U.S. Treasury. and all payments are made with new dollars created ad hoc.

3. Some ideas to reform funding are starting to take shape

One proposal is to either raise or eliminate the wage cap on how much income is subject to the Social Security payroll tax. In 2019, that cap will be $132,900, which means that any amount a worker earns beyond that is not taxed.

Remove that cap, and higher-income earners would contribute far more to the system.

Other options lawmakers might consider include either raising the percentage rate of the payroll tax or raising the age for full retirement benefits.

All of the above options are completely unnecessary. None of them would add even one cent to the federal government’s ability to fund Social Security benefits.

4. Lawmakers do not raid the trust fund

Another common myth about Social Security is that Congress and the president use trust fund assets to pay for other federal expenses, such as education, defense or economic programs.

That’s not accurate. The money remaining after the Social Security Administration (SSA) has paid benefits and other expenses is invested directly into U.S. Treasury securities.

The government can use the money from those securities, but it has to pay the money back with interest.

Via fictional bookkeeping, the government arbitrarily increases and decreases balances in “trust fund” accounts and Treasury Security accounts.

None of this affects, even to the slightest, the federal government’s ability to fund Social Security benefits.

Then, we are treated to the following graph, which would apply to a personal trust fund, but is entirely fictional when describing federal finances.

Illustration of how Social Security works

The dollars “flowing in” are tax dollars destroyed upon receipt. The dollars flowing out are brand, new dollars, created ad hoc by the government. There is no connection between what “flows in” and what “flows out.”

The remainder of the “Twelve things to know” deal with specific rules, not the health of the “trust fund.”

In Summary, Social Security is a federal agency. Because the U.S. government is Monetarily Sovereign, and so cannot run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar, no agency of the federal government can run short of dollars unless Congress and the President will it to.

The federal government does not need to “raise or eliminate the FICA wage cap.”  Nor does it need to “raise the percentage rate of the payroll tax .” Nor does it need to “raise the age for full retirement benefits.”

None of these acts will improve Social Security’s solvency, which is infinite .

The federal government doesn’t want you to understand the above, lest you demand more benefits.  Why doesn’t the government want you to have more benefits?

Because of Gap Psychology. You can read more about that, here.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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

2. Federally funded medicare — parts a, b & d, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Fake federal trust funds and fake concerns Wednesday, Jun 13 2018 

It takes only two things to keep people in chains:

Pete Peterson


The ignorance of the oppressed
And the treachery of their leaders

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a self-described “nonpartisan” mouthpiece for the right wing.

Its “nonpartisan” leanings include advocating:

  1. cuts to federal support for Social Security
  2. cuts to federal support for Medicare
  3. increases to Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA).
  4. increases to taxes on the middle-income groups.
  5. cuts to taxes for the rich
  6. cuts to the federal deficit spending that grows the economy

The Foundation continually publishes articles that falsely claim our Monetarily Sovereign nation somehow can run short of its own sovereign currency, and thus, Social Security, Medicare, and other federal “trust funds” are running short of dollars — all untrue.

It is 100% impossible for a Monetarily Sovereign entity to run short of its own sovereign currency. Similarly, it is 100% impossible for any agency of a Monetarily Sovereign entity to run short of the sovereign currency, unless that is what the entity wants.

Neither the U.S., nor Social Security, can run short of U.S. dollars, unless that is what Congress wants. Period.

So it was with amazement that I read these excerpts from an article published by the Peterson Foundation:

WHAT ARE FEDERAL TRUST FUNDS?
Sep 20, 2016, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

A federal trust fund is an accounting mechanism used by the federal government to track earmarked receipts (money designated for a specific purpose or program) and corresponding expenditures.

The largest and best-known funds finance Social Security, Medicare, highways and mass transit, and pensions for government employees.

Federal trust funds bear little resemblance to their private-sector counterparts.

In private-sector trust funds, receipts are deposited and assets are held and invested by trustees on behalf of the stated beneficiaries.

In federal trust funds, the federal government does not set aside the receipts or invest them in private assets.

Rather, the receipts are recorded as accounting credits in the trust funds, and the receipts themselves are comingled with other receipts that Treasury collects and spends.

This is all correct. Federal so-called “trust funds” are nothing like state and local government trust funds and nothing like private trust funds.Image result for money printing machine

All private sector financing is constrained by one simple fact: The private sector is monetarily non-sovereign.

It does not have the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency, for the simple fact that it has no sovereign currency.

The U.S. private sector (which includes state and local governments) uses the sovereign currency of the federal government.

And then, having admitted that federal “trust fund” receipts are comingled with other Treasury receipts, the article promptly forgets what it said:

Further, the federal government owns the accounts and can, by changing the law, unilaterally alter the purposes of the accounts and raise or lower collections and expenditures.

No need to raise or lower collections. The correct statement would be:

The federal government owns the accounts and can, by changing the law, unilaterally alter the purposes of the accounts and/or provide additional funding.

In the late 1770s, the federal government created the original U.S. dollars from nothing, and today it continues to create dollars at will.

Neither the federal government nor the misnamed “Social Security Trust Fund” (or any other federal trust fund) can run short of dollars unless Congress wants it to.

The Peterson Foundation, and far too many others, including those in the federal government, have been pretending that to save Social Security taxes must be increased or spending must be cut. It simply is not true.

The article continues:

What happens when a federal trust fund runs a deficit?
Treasury must finance trust fund interest payments and the redemption of trust fund securities through additional borrowing from the public (unless policymakers raise taxes or cut spending).

The above is wrong. Not only is it wrong about the supposed need for raising taxes and cutting spending, but it also is wrong about borrowing.

Unlike you and me and all other monetarily non-sovereign entities, our Monetarily Sovereign federal government creates unlimited dollars ad hoc, by paying creditors.

Thus, the federal government has no need for any kind of income. It has no need for tax income. It has no need to cut spending. And it has no need for borrowing.

Alan Greenspan: “A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

St. Louis Federal Reserve: “As the sole manufacturer of dollars, whose debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government can never become insolvent, i.e., unable to pay its bills.”

Thomas Edison: If the Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill.  The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. . . . It is absurd to say our Country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency.”

The federal government has several trust funds. The three most important trust funds are for Social Security, Medicare, and transportation projects.

Social Security Trust Funds
In 2034, unless reforms are enacted, the Social Security trust funds are projected to be fully exhausted. At that point, Social Security’s receipts will only be sufficient to cover 79 percent of benefits.

Benefits will then have to be cut by 21 percent to continue making payments to all beneficiaries. 

Wrong.

As the article previously said, Social Security “receipts are comingled with other receipts that Treasury collects and spends.Image result for shhh

This means the receipts cannot be “sufficient” to cover anything.

The dollars, once received by the Treasury and comingled, disappear from any money supply measure.

They effectively are destroyed upon receipt.

Asking how many dollars the Treasury has is akin to asking how many sentences you have. The Treasury creates its dollars as needed, and you create your sentences as needed.

Just as the Treasury is Monetarily Sovereign, you are “sentence sovereign.” You never have to ask anyone — via taxing or borrowing — for sentences, and you never can run short.

The Social Security Disability program is in worse condition. Its trust fund will be depleted in 2023, and unless its finances are addressed, its benefits will be cut by 11 percent.

The Social Security Disability benefits will be cut only if Congress wants them to be cut.

Medicare Trust Fund
In the Medicare program, payroll taxes are credited to the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) fund and premiums paid by Medicare beneficiaries are credited directly to Medicare’s Supplemental Medical Insurance (SMI) fund.

Unless reforms are enacted, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is expected to be exhausted in 2028, which will precipitate a 13 percent cut in its payments to hospitals and other providers.

The SMI fund cannot be depleted — each year, general revenue contributions are set to cover whatever costs remain after beneficiary premiums are taken into account.

Wait! What?!

“The SMI fund cannot be depleted — each year, general revenue contributions cover whatever costs remain after beneficiary premiums are taken into account.”

SMI, which pays for Part B and Part D benefits, is funded by Congress. It doesn’t rely on a fake “trust fund.” Congress directly authorizes what funds are needed.

So you have the ridiculous situation in which, Medicare Part A supposedly runs short of funds, but Medicare Parts B and D do not. And you are expected to believe this??

Ask your Senator or Representative why all of Medicare and Social Security cannot be handled like SMI, with the federal government simply paying expenses.

That approach would end all talk of trust funds supposedly running short of dollars.

Highway Trust Fund
The Highway Trust Fund will be depleted by 2021. In this fund, taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel are credited directly to the Highway Trust Fund, but the fund’s income falls short of its spending.

This situation has already precipitated a slowdown of highway and other surface transportation projects as states prepare for a shortfall in federal funding.

The same fraudulent situation as with other phony federal “trust funds.” The result: Either infrastructure projects are delayed, not done at all, or are passed to the monetarily non-sovereign state and local governments.

Does it get any more outrageous than this? A Monetarily Sovereign government, which has an unlimited supply of dollars, claims poverty and passes spending responsibility to monetarily non-sovereign state and local governments, which are limited in their spending ability.

The article ends with these truths:

How do trust funds affect the overall budget?
Although many believe that the existence of trust funds guarantees the sustainability of programs in the future, trust funds are simply accounting mechanisms that are part of the way the federal government keeps its books.

The actual cash inflows and outflows of the programs are combined with all other federal programs and therefore contribute to federal surpluses and deficits.

If a program is in surplus, the federal government’s overall deficit balance improves because it uses the additional receipts from the program to fund costs of other programs.

In effect, the government is conducting transactions with itself but keeping track of inflows and outflows of funds through trust funds.

Ultimately, trust fund income and outlays are not separate from the rest of the federal budget, and the sustainability of trust fund programs, like Social Security, depends on the overall sustainability of the federal government.

That last sentence completely destroys any notion that the fake Social Security “trust fund” is running short of dollars and so, taxes must be increased and/or benefits decreased.

The U.S. federal government can “sustain” (i.e. pay for) any amount of expenses because it has the unlimited ability to create dollars. It never can run short.

Unlike you and me, and the states, and businesses, and the euro nations, the U.S government is Monetarily Sovereign.

Remember this whenever you hear that Social Security, Medicare and any other federal program will run short of money or become “insolvent.”

It is a lie designed by the very rich, to make you believe you must settle for fewer federal benefits or higher taxes.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
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 (Guaranteed Income)) 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.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
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.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
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.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
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.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

The end of social security? Wednesday, May 30 2018 

Image result for federal reserve bank of st. louis

James Bullard, President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Alan Greenspan: “A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

St. Louis Federal Reserve: “As the sole manufacturer of dollars, whose debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government can never become insolvent, i.e., unable to pay its bills.”

Thomas Edison: If the Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill.  The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. . . . It is absurd to say our Country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency.

===============================================================

Do you believe Social Security is running short of dollars and, without a tax increase or benefits decrease, in the future will be unable to continue paying benefits?

If so that is exactly what the very rich, who direct American politics, want you to believe.

The very rich want you to accept the notion that Social Security is going bankrupt, the Social Security “trust fund” is running short of dollars, and your benefits must be reduced to “save” the program.

Why do they want you to believe that? Because of Gap Psychology.

Gap Psychology is the desire to distance oneself from those “below” you on any arbitrary measure, and to approach those above you. You wish to disassociate with the poorer and less powerful than you, and to associate with those wealthier and more powerful.

Image result for rich stay away from poor

Gap Psychology at work

Gap Psychology is an evolutionary attempt to increase one’s relative power and thus, safety.

The “associate/disassociate” concept can relate to income, wealth, power, housing, clothing, neighborhood, college attendance, choice of restaurant, mode of travel — anything that confers relative prestige on the user.

Driving an expensive car is an attempt to associate with the rich and to disassociate from those who cannot afford an expensive car. Like everything associated with the Gap, “expensive” is a relative term.  A car you might consider expensive, would not be expensive for a billionaire.

The word “relative” is key. “Rich,” “powerful,” “influential,” etc. are not absolutes. They are comparatives.

If you had $1 thousand, while everyone else had $10, you would be rich. But if you had that same $1 thousand, while everyone else had $1 million, you would be poor.

The U.S. government is Monetarily Sovereign. It has the unlimited money-creation capabilities described (above) by Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, and the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

Image result for endless money

Thomas Edison: If the Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill.  The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. . . . It is absurd to say our Country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency.

Thus, the U.S. government can be viewed as infinitely rich. It can create infinite dollars. It’s purchasing ability is infinite. It has the infinite ability to fund its agencies, which functionally makes U.S. agencies as rich as Congress and the President wish them to be.

If such federal agencies as Social Security, Medicare, the Army, the Supreme Court, et al were to run short of dollars, the reason would not be that the U.S. government has run short of money (which is impossible).

The reason would be that Congress and the President arbitrarily had chosen to provide insufficient dollars to these agencies.

FICA is the tax incorrectly said to fund Social Security and Medicare. But they are federal agencies, so even if FICA collections were $ zero, the federal government could continue to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits, forever.

FICA is irrelevant to the real financial well-being of Social Security and Medicare. FICA is an excuse for cutting benefits.

Congress and the President, at the behest of rich donors, who are influenced by Gap Psychology, pretend Social Security and Medicare can run short of dollars. It all is a charade for the benefit of the rich.

In that vein, here are excerpts from a recent, online article in Money & Career CheatSheet, titled:

9 Lies You’ve Been Told About Social Security
By Megan Elliott May 28, 2018
(Megan is a Money & Career, Health & Fitness, and Culture Writer at The Cheat Sheet. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural studies from Macalester College and a master’s degree in media studies from the New School University. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of Financial Planning and other publications.)

Social Security is the linchpin of the American retirement system. Nearly 40 million retired Americans receive an average of $1,335 a month from the program. For 64% of retirees, the check they receive makes up more than half of their total income. Without this retirement benefit, many of the oldest Americans would be destitute.

Yet for all its importance, Social Security remains a program that is shrouded in confusion and mystery. When Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company quizzed people in 2015 on some basic facts about Social Security, only 28% received a passing grade.

Being misinformed about how Social Security works is costing retirees. “Americans who lack the proper knowledge and information about Social Security may be putting their retirement planning in jeopardy,” Phil Michalowski, the vice president at U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual, said in a statement.

“In fact, many may be leaving Social Security retirement benefits they’re entitled to on the table, or incorrectly assuming what benefits may be available in retirement.”

Michalowski was referring to ignorance about Social Security law costing retirees. But there is a deeper, more important ignorance about Social Security, that costs Americans much more.

Unlike state and local governments, and unlike business and individual people, all of which are monetarily non-sovereign, the U.S. government is Monetarily Sovereign.  It never can run short of dollars.

Sadly, the American public has been brainwashed by the rich into believing the “Big Lie,” that the U.S. federal government can run short of dollars. The rich bribe three main information sources to promulgate the Big Lie:

  1. The media, who are bribed via advertising revenues and media ownership
  2. The politicians, who are bribed via campaign contributions and promises of lucrative employment later
  3. The economists, who are bribed via university contributions and employment in “think tanks.”

Continuing with excerpts from Ms. Elliott’s article:

Confusion about how benefits are earned, how much you can get, and the best time to retire abounds. Politicians and the media add to the confusion when they make dramatic — and sometimes false — statements about the future health of Social Security. In some cases, believing the lies you hear about Social Security could cause you to make planning mistakes that jeopardize your future financial security.

Here are nine of the biggest whoppers you’ll hear about Social Security.

1. You have a personal Social Security “account”

Roughly one-third of Americans think the money they pay into Social goes into a personal account. Instead, the money goes into a general trust fund, and is then used to pay benefits to current and future retirees.

When you retire, the money you receive will come from contributions of those currently working.

“Social Security isn’t like a 401(k) or even a traditional funded pension plan. Your contributions are immediately paid out to current beneficiaries,” Erik Carter of Financial Finesse explained in an article for Forbes.

This is completely false. There is no “general trust fund.” It is an accounting fiction. Think about it: Why would a Monetarily Sovereign entity, that has the unlimited ability to create its sovereign currency, in any amount at any time — why would that entity have any use for a “trust fund.”

The concept makes no sense.

When your FICA tax dollars are received by the federal government, they cease to be part of any money supply measure. In actual effect, your dollars are destroyed upon receipt.

Then, when the federal government pays benefits, it sends instructions to you (via a check) or to your bank (via a wire). Those instructions tell the bank to increase the balance in your checking account.

At the instant the bank obeys those instructions, brand new dollars are created and added to the money supply (called “M1”).

Our Monetarily Sovereign government, having the unlimited ability to create dollars, neither needs nor uses tax dollars for any purpose. (Review the statements by Greenspan, Bernanke, and the St. Louis Fed.)

2. Private accounts are a better alternative to the current Social Security system

Privatizing Social Security is periodically floated as a way to save what some see as a failing system. Former President George W. Bush was a big supporter of such a plan.

Bush’s proposal was controversial and ultimately didn’t go anywhere. But some still argue that letting people invest all or a portion of their Social Security would increase people’s savings and lead to a more secure retirement.

Others argue that such a strategy is just too risky given stock market volatility and how bad many Americans are at managing money.

The proposal is based on the Big Lie that the federal government cannot afford to fund Social Security and that it must take dollars from the public in order to pay for benefits. Absolutely untrue.

3. Younger workers won’t get a dime

Doomsayers sometimes claim Social Security is on the verge of going broke. Younger workers may never get their benefits, they warn, and future retirees could see their checks cut off. But the future of Social Security, while not exactly rosy-looking, isn’t quite so dire.

“The idea that the program is going to ‘run out of money’ or is ‘going broke’ is a zombie lie, one that deserves to have its head lopped off with a quick slice of Michonne’s katana,” Paul Waldman of The American Prospect wrote in The Washington Post.

So far, #3 is spot on. But then, the wrongheadedness returns:

It’s true current workers are paying less into the Social Security trust fund than is being paid out to retirees. By 2035, the reserves in the trust fund are projected to run dry.

At that point, Social Security could pay about 77% of projected benefits to retirees from the income it receives from people currently working. Obviously, that’s not a great situation, but future retirees will still get some money — just as not as much as they were promised.

So-called “trust fund” reserves are completely irrelevant. The federal government needs no “trust fund” to pay the President’s expenses, Congress’s expenses, or the Supreme Court’s expenses. Why would it need a trust fund to pay for Social Security?

President Roosevelt, the founder of Social Security knew this. But he insisted on collecting FICA taxes so as to give recipients a “moral right” to benefits, that Congress could not take away.

It hasn’t worked, however, as benefits have been decreased, for no reason at all. Social Security does not pay benefits from income. Period.

4. You have to be a citizen to get benefits

Provided you’ve worked for at least 10 years, are lawfully in the U.S., and meet all the other requirements, you can claim Social Security benefits when you retire, whether you’re a citizen or not. Even non-working spouses of non-citizens may be able to get benefits.

Correct. Since non-workers don’t pay FICA, there goes the Big Lie that FICA funds Social Security.

5. The retirement age is 65

For people born in 1937 or earlier, full retirement age is 65. If you were born between 1938 and 1959, full retirement age varies between 65 and 2 months and 66 and 10 months. For everyone born after 1960, full retirement is at 67.

No matter when you were born, you can start claiming early benefits at age 62. But if you claim early, your monthly benefit is reduced by 20% to 30%. If you wait until age 70 to claim Social Security, you could increase your monthly benefit by more than 30%.

This entire rigamarole is based on the myth that FICA funds SS. Without that myth, there would be no reason ever to reduce benefits.

6. You can’t get benefits if you’ve never worked

Even if you’ve never worked a day in your life, you may still be able to get benefits from Social Security. Non-working spouses may receive up to 50% of their husband or wife’s benefit amount.

In 2010, the Social Security Administration (SSA) estimated only 4% of people between 62 and 84 would never receive benefits.

Point #6, once again, demonstrates that people don’t pay for Social Security. The federal government merely makes up rules to suit its Big Lie.

Imagine if a life insurance company told its insureds,  “We’re going to cut your benefits because we want to pay people who never bought insurance.”

7. You should claim Social Security as soon as you can

If you can afford to delay taking benefits until 65 or even 70, you’ll get a bigger check every month. Given that people are generally living longer, holding off on requesting benefits is often a wise move.

It would be a “wise move” only if the federal government needed to ration dollars. Otherwise, forcing people to guess how long they will live is a terrible idea.

8. You can work and collect full Social Security benefits

You may not get your full benefit if you’re drawing a paycheck. “If you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefit,” the SSA explained.

Reducing benefits is absolutely unnecessary.

9. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme

You’ll sometimes hear people dismiss Social Security as a Ponzi scheme. They’re comparing the program to the famous investment fraud perpetrated by Charles Ponzi in 1920.

In a ponzi scheme, investors are lured in with promises of big returns with little risk. In reality, no investment exists.

Instead, the first group of investors are paid with money gathered from a second group of investors, and so on down the line.

Once the pool of investors dries up, the scheme collapses.

On the surface, Social Security does share some resemblance with a Ponzi scheme, since the earnings of today’s workers are used to pay benefits to those who are already retired.

But there are important differences between the two. For one, no one is in the dark about the nature of Social Security. The program is transparent about the way it is funded and the state of its finances.

A Ponzi scheme depends on the ignorance of investors to survive.

Plus, as long as the government can require people to pay taxes, there will still be a source of new income, though it may not be enough to meet the promised payouts. With a Ponzi scheme, people will eventually wise up and stop investing, which causes everything to fall apart.

“What makes a Ponzi scheme a Ponzi scheme is that it’s a giant fraud. People think they’re investing in postal stamps. Their money is actually being invested in nothing. In Social Security, conversely, it’s perfectly clear what is going on,” Ezra Klein wrote in an article for the Washington Post.

If we were to believe the Big Lie about the government’s supposed inability to pay benefits, Social Security would, in fact, be a Ponzi scheme.

Here are some classic symptoms of the Social Security “Ponzi scheme”:

  1. Payouts arbitrarily can and have been reduced.
  2. The operator provides fabricated reports claiming there are dollars in a “trust fund.”
  3. The operator says the benefits it pays to older members from new members.
  4. The money is invested in nothing.
  5. The scheme depends on the ignorance of the investors regarding exactly how benefits are calculated.

If Bernard Madoff had legally been allowed to cut benefits whenever he wished, he still would be in business.

However, Social Security is not a true Ponzi scheme: Unlike the usual Ponzi scheme, the operator — the U.S. government — never can run short of dollars to pay benefits.

In Summary:

The FICA tax, being an unnecessary and regressive imposition on the middle and lower income groups, should be eliminated (See Step #1 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity).

The federal government can and should provide Social Security payments to every man, woman, and child in America. (See Step #3 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity)

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
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 (Guaranteed Income)) 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.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
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.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
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.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
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.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

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