This Washington Times article describes the dire situation that our Social Security system is in, and why all of those surplus collections for the past 20 years are long gone.
The retirement nest egg of an entire generation is stashed away in this small town along the Ohio River: $2.5 trillion in IOUs from the federal government, payable to the Social Security Administration.
It’s time to start cashing them in.
For more than two decades, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits – billions more each year.
Not anymore. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, when Congress last overhauled Social Security, the retirement program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes — nearly $29 billion more.
Sounds like a good time to start tapping the nest egg. Too bad the federal government already spent that money over the years on other programs, preferring to borrow from Social Security rather than foreign creditors. In return, the Treasury Department issued a stack of IOUs — in the form of Treasury bonds — which are kept in a nondescript office building just down the street from Parkersburg’s municipal offices.
Now the government will have to borrow even more money, much of it abroad, to start paying back the IOUs, and the timing couldn’t be worse. The government is projected to post a record $1.5 trillion budget deficit this year, followed by trillion-dollar deficits for years to come.
In other words, the federal government spent the excess revenues rather than actually set them aside. To compensate, one government agency (Treasury) issued IOUs to another government agency (Social Security). Now it is time to cash in those IOUs – guess where Treasury will need to get the money from to pay off those IOUs? Chalk up another $29 billion to the already record-setting federal deficit.
The implosion of the scam Social Security system was inevitable, now it appears it is upon us already.