To the editor:
Recently Sen. Mitch McConnell referred to Social Security’s negative cash flow as a one or our “long-term unfunded liabilities.”
That’s not even wrong. Working Americans have been overfunding Social Security to the extent of a current $2.6 trillion surplus (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/progdata/assets.html). So where’s the money? Well, Sen. McConnell’s distinguished predecessors spent it. What’s left is a gargantuan pile of IOUs known as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Trust Funds.
This sort of thing also happens in the private sector where it’s known as fraud. So what exactly is the difference between Bernie Madoff and our representatives, both of whom spent money entrusted to them with no apparent scheme for repaying it? The central difference seems to be that Madoff forgot to leave behind a pile of bonds, which would have shown that he really did intend to pay it back. Maybe he had an incompetent lawyer.
In any event, given the slim chance that Sen. McConnell and his colleagues from both parties decide to adjust Social Security benefits for current retirees, fixing the mess will fall upon younger generations in the form of higher taxes, increased borrowing, or both. Maybe there needs to be more overcrowding in Mr. Madoff’s prison wing.