Letter: What happened to our Social Security?

When I read something like this I cringe. I wonder why papers publish such letters. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not their own facts.

Editor, the Advocate:

What happened to our Social Security? Years ago, after it was started for retirement and benefits for other qualified members, the walls of the banks were bulging out with so much money they were about to burst.

Our great leaders, who we elect, saw this. So, they decided to borrow from it, leaving I.O.U.s. Then they decided they could run it better, so they took charge of it. Now they want to tax us on money we already paid taxes on. This would be double taxation.

How long are we Americans going to put up with this? Wake up America.

Victoria, Texas
Source: Letter: What happened to our Social Security? | Opinion | victoriaadvocate.com

There is nothing in the above that is accurate. Social Security has been funded the same way since day one. Excess revenue to the trust has always been invested in treasury bonds. Government agencies always ran the program. Taxes used to fund SS are unrelated to the benefits received and benefits for most beneficiaries far exceed any taxes paid during working years.


  1. In my local paper, I have seen (very rarely) letters published but with editors remarks about verifiable factual errors. We seem to have a good mix of opinions on both ends of the political spectrum, which is good, if sometimes maddening. It appears the paper tries to stay somewhat impartial.

    Editor: “…I like to think of letters to the editor as an open forum, a place where everyone — regardless of upbringing or education or occupation or anything else — can speak and be heard. And that makes it important to many of us.”

    Even if all we learn is that there is rampant misinformation out there, like the SS letter, that in itself is useful information. Ironic.

    Maybe next week the paper will publish a primer and FAQ on SS.


  2. “Is the Federal Government “Raiding” the Trust Funds?
    No. Some critics have suggested that lending trust fund reserves to the Treasury is a misuse of those funds. This view reflects a misunderstanding of how the Treasury manages the federal government’s finances.

    When the rest of the budget is in deficit, a Social Security cash surplus allows the government to borrow less from the public to finance the deficit. (The “public” encompasses all lenders other than federal trust funds, including U.S. individuals and institutions, the Federal Reserve System, and foreign investors.) The Treasury always uses whatever cash is on hand — whether from Social Security contributions or other earmarked or non-earmarked sources — to meet its current obligations before engaging in additional borrowing from the public. There is no sensible alternative to this practice. After all, why should the Treasury borrow funds when it has cash in the till?

    Money that the federal government borrows, whether from investors or from Social Security, is used to finance the ongoing operations of the government in the same way that money deposited in a bank is used to finance spending by consumers and businesses. In neither case does this represent a “raid” or misuse of the funds. The bank depositor will get his or her money back when needed, and so will the Social Security trust funds.”
    The issue really boils down to: is the USA exempt from defaulting on its obligations? Only GOD probably know the answer to that question…


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