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IPFS News Link • Government Debt & Financing

The Kubler-Ross Model: Denial, Acceptance and Renewal in America

I was at a Tea Party meeting (I know, I’ve already admitted it) where one of the participants asked, “Are you willing to give up Social Security?” “What?” I asked stupidly. “If you cut these taxes and reduce government, it’ll end Social Security. I want to know who here is willing to have their own check cut.” I stared, staggered at the obviousness of this simple statement. “Sir,” I stuttered, “It’s already gone. There IS no Social Security. You’d be lucky to get checks for even two more years.” My words did not compute so I let it slide, turning to other subjects. The unsustainable nature of the numbers surrounding Social Security and Medicaid have been obvious since the Baby Boom generation was done being born in 1966. The scam was fully apparent by at least the (non)re-structuring of withholdings with the Greenspan-Boskin Commission in 1983—and at least by 1984, as even the increased revenues were spent, with nothing saved. It would be self-evident that it wouldn’t matter in any case, since an entire nation cannot buy special pixie dust through its whole life without driving the price up—not Stocks, not Bonds, not even gold—and then sell it through their whole retirement without driving the price of that asset back down to zero again. That is, you can’t all put $10 into a hat, and have everyone pull $20 back out. That’s what Social Security, 401k privatization, the Stock Market, Investors, all propose to do. Since 1983, there have been commissions every few years, headlines in every major newspaper, including most recently G.W. Bush’s front-page quote, “There Is No Trust Fund.” I mean, exactly what kind of warning were you looking for? Do they have to come to your house and shake you by the ankles? Moving into the new decade, we find ourselves with a $1,600,000 Million deficit --per year--and the now-common knowledge that Social Security doesn’t exist—it’s just a budget item that is paid like any other: through borrowing. Borrowing on top of that $1.6 Trillion. Per Year. And you STILL think that you have something to lose? That there’s the slightest chance Social Security will be paid? …And I’m not following the arcana of the way governments reliably o ver-promise and default in history from Weimar to France, the close examples of Russia in 1997 and Argentina in 2001, that in 1776 Adam Smith had already declared “No government ever pays off their debts,” or any of the other second-level study that is easily found. Now that’s denial.