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.
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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.

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