In Funds We Trust

Every time I write anything about Social Security, I get at least one person arguing that everything is fine because after all, the trust fund is not going to run out until 2036 or so.


I want to assume good faith, but I have a hard time believing that anyone takes this argument seriously.  Today, because social security payments exceeded revenue, we're going to either have to raise taxes, or borrow more money, in order to cover the benefits.

How would this be different if we didn't have the trust fund?

Entitlements are a problem because they represent a growing demand on tax revenue.  You can't fix this problem by changing the way you account for the transactions, any more than a corporation could fix runaway inventory expenses by charging them off to the IT department instead.
Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Business

Just In