Ignorance

Definition of ignorance

: the state or fact of being ignorant: lack of knowledge, education, or awareness

For our purposes, lack of education is not relevant, lack of knowledge and/or awareness very much is. I will expand the definition a bit for the 21st century.

Ignorance also includes accepting and passing along misleading and erroneous information unsupported by facts. Ignorance is allowing yourself to be manipulated to reinforce your preconceived ideas especially when not fact based. Ignorance is the failure to be or attempt to be knowable on a topic before developing an opinion.

Let me list several examples of erroneous and misleading information that are repeated over and over.

  1. Congress stole the Social Security Trust fund money
  2. Congress is paid its salary for life
  3. Congress has better and free health care coverage than other Americans
  4. CEOs are paid hundreds of millions if not billions in salary
  5. The United States spends a large part of its budget on foreign aid
  6. Tax laws favor the wealthy
  7. Health care can operate affordably as a free market system with competition and choice
  8. Government involvement in a health care system is socialism
  9. Current, expanded and new federal social programs can be funded by corporations and 1% of taxpayers
  10. Health insurance companies are ripping off consumers to obtain large profits
  11. Americans pay the very high retail prescription drug prices often quoted by politicians
  12. Student loans are a crisis for those with student loans
  13. COVID pandemic is not real, we are intentionally being given misinformation, vaccines are not safe, masks don’t work, etc., etc., etc.
  14. Immigration is bad for America
  15. Seniors as a group are poor, low income and have a high poverty level

6 comments

  1. So, if you are a fiduciary, spending trust assets = “stole”, and, that’s being generous. It would be different if we weren’t running deficits and if we didn’t have such a massive national debt.

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  2. FYI, some of those are spot on. Some are debatable. But one is not a misstatement.

    “Congress stole the Social Security Trust fund money” is certainly true – all you have to do is replace the word “stole” with “spent”.

    Because the trust fund is in government securities (IOU’s backed by future taxpayers), and because Congress is currently running massive $1+T deficits to the point where we are closing in on $30T in debt, the money has been spent, not invested.

    You have made this same point many times, that Congress, especially Democrats, talk of more investment when what they really mean is more spending. We are experiencing one more iteration of that with the abuse of the word “infrastructure.”

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    1. The money has been invested by the Trust, just like I invested buying US Savings bonds. We both get interest and in both cases Congress has spent the money as it does with every Treasury note or bond sold every day. No doubt Congress is irresponsible and getting worse by the day with spending and debt and we will all pay the price someday, but Congress did not steal the SS Trust anymore than my bond investments.

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      1. Agree. Spent not stole. We gave it to them to hold in trust, and they spent all of it and more. If you or I had done that as ERISA fiduciaries, they would throw us in prison and throw away the key.

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      2. I can’t agree on this one. A private pension puts money in stocks and bonds and the sellers of the bonds spend the money as they see fit, the pension trust has nothing to do with it. The fund used to accumulate way more cash than needed. Where would it have been invested with minimal risk and guaranteed income, some $80 billion a year now? Some argue money should have been invested in the stock market and that certainly would have generated more assets, but with what consequences. I would have favored a portion of the trust invested, perhaps 20%.

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      3. I would have invested it in infrastructure. Then assess user fees – but administer privately, efficient, not a jobs program. Investments in natural resources also makes sense. However, all 50 state pensions and hundreds of local pensions have equity investments and I’m sure all are funded by taxpayers. I’m pretty sure you have heard of the argument in favor of private pensions being a source of capital investment – as an addition to our economy. Anyone out there think investing in govt bonds adds more to capital stock/investment?

        No it is “spend”, not “steal”, but it was, is, continues to clearly be a violation of trust, violative of fiduciary duty.

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