Social Security - 2012 Results

Bruce Krasting's picture




Social Security (SS) has released its estimates for the December data for benefits payed and taxes received. With this info, I can estimate the 2012 results that will be formally reported in five-months. It was a ho-hummer of a year for SS, it tread water vigorously, and ended up with a cash deficit of $46.7B, just a tad more red ink that 2011’s $45.6B. The pieces of the pie, and YoY comps:


Payroll tax receipts: $712.7B (+6.5%)

(Includes payment from Treasury Re the 2% tax cut)

Income from Tax on Benefits $27.1B (+15%) !!

(Means test)


Total Cash Receipts $739.8 (+7.0%)



Benefit Payments $780B (+6.9%)

(Includes RR interchange)

Overhead $6.7B (+4.7%)


Total cash Outlay $786B (6.8%)


Net cash flow loss $46.7B (+2.4%)


Interest income $111.4B (-1.7%)


Accounting surplus $64.7B (-2.5%)

(Paper minus cash)


Number of Beneficiaries 56.8m (+2.5%)


Some thoughts on these results:


- The $46.7B annual cash deficit is the third in a row. The 2012 shortfall confirms it; SS will never see a cash flow surplus again. Every dollar of the cash shortfall MUST be funded by selling additional debt to the public.


I hope this is clear. I’ll repeat it. Social Security is adding to the debt held by the public. It is forcing the country to borrow more to fund current operations. When Senate Democrats, like Dick Durbin and Harry Reid say, “SS does not add a penny to our debt.”they are lying.



- The Tax on Benefits is up to a meaningful $27.1b (+15%). The increase is the result of many newly retired folks who are getting SS, and also have other income (investments and pensions). This forces them to add the SS income into their tax base. THIS IS A “MEANS TEST”.


I emphasize this fact as there is very strong opposition to the concept of a means tax for SS by Democrats in Washington and the liberal press (Dean Baker). But it already exists!


Liberals don’t like means testing because it undermines the principals of SS. It makes it appear that SS is a form of welfare. The fear is that if SS is labeled as welfare, the popularity of the program would quickly wane. So the staunchest supporters of SS are avoiding a fix that could patch the finances for the worst reasons. They are supporting Roosevelt’s dreams, at the expense of the base they say they are trying to protect. Only in America….


The problem with the existing Tax on Benefits is that it does not cut deep enough to fill the bucket. I advocate that the tax bite for high-end seniors be increased. I will go further, and state that the means test for SS benefits should be based on assets, not just income that can be manipulated.


My strong feelings on means testing SS benefits are to my personal disadvantage; my SS benefits would be gone under my plan. I say this now, as I know there will be many who will throw rocks at me for my stance. I can already see the words, “I paid for it, the money is mine!” I say,"Sorry, this will come sooner or later."


My gripe is that the generation that is causing the problem, the Baby Boomers, is getting off scot-free. All of the proposals to tweak SS (Age and inflation adjustments) would phase in over twenty-years. With this, the bulk of the baby boomers would get a free ride. This doesn’t seem fair at all to me. Society, as a whole, will have to pay for the Boomers, but the Boomers should shoulder a higher percent of the cost. By no means should their political clout result in an unfair outcome. This is a political "Kick of the Can", "screw folks sometime in the future". A downright ugly plan at that.





- In 2012 the Treasury paid SS $115B to offset the drop in income related to the 2% reduction in payroll taxes for the year. The operating results (including the Treasury contribution) still produced a cash flow deficit of $46.7B. In other words, the shortfall for 2012 added $162B to the borrowing requirements at Treasury. This borrowing resulted in a dollar-for-dollar increase in the Debt Owed to the Public.



- There was an improvement (+6.5%) in the YoY payroll tax income. A portion of the better results are annual “Adjustments”. 2012 had positive adjustments to revenue from the prior year totaling $2.1B, while 2011 had negative adjustments of $8.6B. Taken together, the real rate of increase for revenues at SS is closer to 5.2%. This data can be used to create an estimate of total payroll income (Adjusted payroll income / Tax rate {12.4%} :


2011 estimated SS total payrolls = $5.658T

2012 estimated SS total payroll = $5.951T

YoY change = $293B (1.8%)


The ~$300B of increased pay seems like a very big number, but when you consider that inflation is running at about that same 1.8%, most folks are getting no place fast.

I draw this comparison to make a point about the huge numbers that are part of the economy. A $300B increase in worker's incomes doesn't move the needle at all. Amazing...

Note: This quickie numbers analysis does not reflect the cap of $106.5K on SS tax, nor other sources of income that is not taxed by SS. I don't think this skews the results/conclusions by much. Social Security has 155m in its pool, significantly larger than the Non-Farms Payroll (135m). These numbers cover a big slice of the American pie.



- The YoY increase in Benefits of $50.1B (6.9%) is a reflection of A) A COLA increase of 3.6% and B) A net increase of 1.4m in the number of beneficiaries. The costs at SS rose at a pace that is far higher than the economy grew in 2012. Approximately 11,000 people enter the system every day. 7,000 current members of the club, well, they leave the system 24/7.



- Interest income is down 2.5% in 2012. The decrease of $1.1B is modest, but also significant. The passage of time and ZIRP/QE, has caught up with SS’s investment portfolio. The interest income at SS for 2011 will prove to be the zenith; from now on, the interest income at SS will be in annual decline. This is an important milestone, a decidedly negative one at that.

The Federal Reserve has cheapened the cost of money at the expense of SS. One can argue the merits of this tradeoff, but what can’t be argued, is the consequence to SS. If the Ten-Year were at 4% (Versus the 6% long-term average) it would add $700B to SS interest income over the next (critical) ten-years.

If you listen to Bernanke, the other Fed Doves, guys like the WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath, and all of the economists on TV, you would think that there is no consequence to the government of perpetual cheap money. Actually, what Bernanke is doing is dramatically shortening the day of reckoning for SS. The current thinking is the SS “go bust” date is 2033. But when SS releases its annual report in May, it will confirm that the date has been brought forward a few years, and the culprit is cheap money. I wish that someone other than the blog world would point these things out. Bernanke is no pal of SS, Very Important People, like Paul Krugman, love SS and also hail Bernanke's endless cheap money. I guess they don't see the conflict.



+++ (finally, sorry for running on)

- There was no crisis at SS in 2012, and there won’t be a real crisis for a number of years to come. The growing annual cash deficits are now “programmed” to happen. This gives Democrats the opportunity to say, “Hands off SS”. “It ain’t broke, so don’t try to fix it”.

My guess is that the Democrats will prevail on SS with regard to the current fiscal cliff debate. As a result, there will be no changes to SS. Should that be the outcome, in about five years the wheels will fall off the cart. By then, SS will be running cash deficits of at least $200B a year. It will be much harder to “fix” than today.



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Cpl Hicks's picture

The problem is not with the BabyBoomers starting to collect, it is with the politicians who abused this system. 

Absolutely correct!

Let’s make the politicians accountable.

That's going to be pretty hard to do with The Won in the White House for another four years.

Did the Means Test letter your wife received follow any submittal of financial status information on your (you and your wife's) part?

BanjoDoug's picture

The means testing resulted from my income bump (reflected on 2011 tax rtn) when I cashed out a 401K and invested in "other" assets......

MilleniumJane's picture

My mother has paid into the system since the age of 14, my husband and me since the age of 13.  We have all led productive lives.  This whole thing against SS stinks of class division.  Who fired the first shot?  Those who stole and gained the most from their thievery.  We all need to get wise to this and take a stand.  We cannot afford to keep falling for their hocus-pocus.

MachoMan's picture

What should we get wise about exactly?  If we all "wise up" then you don't get a check...  the money is gone and it's not coming back. 

The only thing that you can affect is prospective contributions (taxes) to the SS fund...  and this is where the class division lies...  older generations wanting to get whatever they can out of a broke dick system and younger generations seeing the dodge for what it is.

If the boomers really want to effectuate moral and meaningful change, then they'll simply accept the consequences of decades of political apathy AND disband the trust fund and prohibit a replacement.  I won't hold my breath.

Papasmurf's picture

You only need to look at the $90M apartments in NYC to answer that.

NEOSERF's picture

It is getting increasingly clear that each year we need a "king for a week" where simple things are fixed by decree and are not able to be rescinded.  Example:

SS will be fixed in two ways starting in 2014

1.  Anyone with net liquid wealth of over $2M or net wealth of over $5M (sell some fucker) will not be eligible for SS (thank you for your contributions and likewise we accept your thankyou for providing you a country to make your retirment comfortable)

2. SS is only available to those that contributed for at least 10 years and are US citizens in good standing (ie. not in prison)

3. Average amount deducted from salary will rise from 4.2% back to 6.2% in 0.5% increments over the next 4 years and will also hit an increasing amount of salary indexed to wage growth in the country

Congress has shown themselves to be increasingly useless as they sell us down the river.

IamtheREALmario's picture

Obviously the US government has not been storing the electronic bits and bytes of dollars that they collect in SS taxes in a vault. Over the years, the government has been electronically borrowing the SS money and then using the funds for wars and to pay government employees and in exchange giving the SS fund IOUs (T-bonds most likely). Now the US government is drawing from the surplus stored in IOUs and it will soon be gone.

It is all electronic. There is and never was a store of dollars. It has always been part of the debt. I don't think it matters, other than as one small part of the debt that will now be increasing as more money has to be borrowed to pay off SS Ponzi-style.... and replace the surplus that once existed.

Personally, I do not believe there should be a cap on SS earnings tax, but there should be a cap on benefits. This would be wealth distribution, but it would also tax those who disproportionately gained from: the labor of others, the consumption of others, the debt of others, government largess and inflation. It is the disproportionate gain that is the issue, much of it taken from unethical/immoral sources, not strictly the wealth that they have. Can I differentiate clean money from tainted money ... not really.

goodrich4bk's picture

You are correct.  It is all debt. But contrary to Bruce's analysis, there are significant differences between SS debt and all other Federal debt.

--the SS debt is evidenced by non-transferable securities, which means the SSA cannot sell its debt at a profit.  It can only redeem it.

--the SS debt is a place-marker for a particular government expenditure, unlike general treasuries.  When a treasury note is redeemed, the money the government pays out to the holder of the treaury..  When a SS note is redeemed, the money goes directly to the SSA and is paid to beneficiaries with more efficiency, i.e., at less cost per dollar of benefits, than any other large distribution enterprise, public or private.

--the SS debt represents many years of a SS payroll tax surplus that was expressly created and funded by Boomers to avoid the "pig in a python" effect of their retirement.

--there is no truth to the "cupboard is bare" argument, as that presumes that the SS notes represent a stash of cash, rather than a loan.  There was never a cupboard and nobody ever promised one.  Moreover, SS notes have always earned interest, making them a far better investment for SS over the years than a pile of depreciating cash.

--people complaining about the investment of SS money in government treasuries have no fucking clue about how big a problem it would have been had the money been invested in the stock market or marketable bonds.  You cannot have such a large cash flow into and out of the market without it effecting its price and, therefore, shifting the "profits" from such an effect forward to those who retire first.

In short, when Bruce says that SS is adding to the debt, what he really means is that when SS redeems its non-marketable bonds, the government has to pay the SSA.  What is Bruce's evidence that the government has to borrow to make this redemeption?  For example, if there were total redemptions this year of $60 billion, does Bruce really think the government did not raise $60 billion in taxes?  Why does he assume that we borrowed to pay SS redemptions, when he could just as easily assume we borrowed to pay for defense expenditures?  Or interest on the national debt?

Sorry, Bruce, but there is no evidence that SS adds one penny to the debt, and it is you who are lying.  The government's only legal obligation at the beginning of each year is to pay interest in the national debt, and there is plenty of revenue to do that.  All other expenses are discretionary, which means that we borrow to pay for those expenses, not for redemptions of treasuries or SSA redemptions.




moroots's picture

The "notes" the SSA holds are a claim against the general revenues of the Federal government.  The SSA received those notes when they lent the Federal govt their surplus cash (i.e. pr taxes received in excess of current benefits payable).  This was required by act of Congress.  But here's the important part: the Federal government SPENT that money.  It's gone and it's not coming back.  Thus, for the SSA to redeem these funds means that the Federal govt has to raise the revenue - either by borrowing, printing, or raising taxes.   Your point is technically correct that it's specious to say that the govt is borrowing to support SS whereas tax funds support the dept of defense, but the fungibility of money doesn't affect the fact that govt has no reserves and no savings, and that when it wants to spend beyond its tax revenues - for what programs it doesn't matter - it must increase the debt.  Clearly you don't understand this.

Bob's picture

I thought it was clear that he understood it, but took exception to the assumptions implicit in the way it is so often framed, even by Bruce.  He did it in nice, clean financial terms, too.  He made sense.  Just as you do.

Are you sure you don't understand him?  You two are on the same side of the room from most of the people around here, even if you're in separate corners.  He made sense, right?


chubbar's picture

Those bonds represent the payment of funds, the overpayment as it is, of FDIC payments from paychecks of working folks. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, those funds existed and were borrowed by gov't as evidenced by the bonds. Are we now arguing over whether the funds should be payed back via SS payments or are we arguing over which payments from an insolvent borrower should have precedence? I say that funds borrowed get repayed first before any gov't program that didn't exist at the time of the borrowing is paid, at a minimum.

Bob's picture

Yes, the assumptions of the "it's been spent, it's gone" crowd seem to require our analysis to adopt liquidation rules for some reason. 

You'd think there's a BK in progress.  WTF?

If there were, I'd have to say the bondholders should take precendence over day-to-day venders like the local electric company and Lockheed Martin.  Surely that would equate to the people who've bought "protection" via this insurance program enjoying bondholder or primary client status, something superior to the trash man.  And you know how low on the list he is. 

It sems to me that the "it's been vaporized" argument is nothing but noxious vapor. 

It's like going back in time and cheerleading for Corzine in real time while jamming fingers in the eyes of the investors for fun.  WTF?

malek's picture

LOL, still working hard to ignore the inconvenient facts, are we?

--the SS debt is evidenced by non-transferable securities, which means the SSA cannot sell its debt at a profit.  It can only redeem it.
It also means they cannot redeem them in the free market. Which by extension means there is no free market price for them, so the gov't can assign any value it wants to them. paid to beneficiaries with more efficiency...
Efficiency is irrelevant on non-existing things (such as SS "lockbox"). A placeholder is exactly that, a mathematical construct with no inherent worth.

--the SS debt represents many years of a SS payroll tax surplus
Yep, unfortunately the government squandered those excess funds

So what is it, a non-existing placeholder that earns real interest? Sounds like a good argument to underline the feasibility of the concept.

--people complaining about the investment of SS money in government treasuries have no fucking clue about how big a problem it would have been had the money been invested in the stock market or marketable bonds.
Oh, but blindly handing over the money to the government, and somehow deducing an entitlement that your/other people's grandchildren, which are unfortunately smaller in number than the retiring cohort, will gladly pay your retirement is no problem at all?

You, goodrich4bk, are lying and a a shill.

spooz's picture

I agree with you about caps (lifting the earnings cap, capping benefits based on income).  Its the fairest way to sustainability.

Nels's picture

Means Test 1:  The payout rates were progressive from the very beginning, the folks who paid in the most got the least bang for their buck.

Means Test 2: Taxing SS payments.  This punishes those who saved, and those who keep working.

Proposed Means Test 3:  Taxing wealth.  An unbelievably bad idea.  Inflation is already a huge tax on savings in interest paying accounts.  You now want to tax capital gains before they are made.  This will be a huge incentive for politicians to keep inflation running, to generate fake capital gains.

The Big Lie:  In most of the world, saving 13% of your yearly income over 45 years would be plenty for your own retirement, especially when put into a survivors annuity plan where you lose if you die early, and nothing is saved for your heirs.  The big lie is that 13% is not enough.  If it's not enough, then the money has been stolen and given to other folks.  The baby boomers might have been too generous in who got SS and SSI, but you can't say they were too greedy. 

Eating your seed corn is a very stupid idea, and a direct parallel to the thinking in this article.

There is no fix for SS.  Unfortunately, there is also no fix for magical thinking.  Anything you tax is a moving target.  Keep raising the tax on savings and there will be no savings to tax.  I can't magine a better way to turn us all into fuedal serfs who need to keep working until we drop dead at the job.

sansnobel's picture

I will simplify it even more.  It's a fucking Ponzi scheme. Howz that?  You have money, they take it and make all sorts of fanciful altruistic claims, but from day one it was doomed to fail because it was being managed by criminals.  It was a social redistribution scheme plain and simple from the begining.  They just can't call it another welfare program because it would compete with all the other social redistribution programs.  So they have to make it look like it's "your" money.  Welcome to the Thunderdome fellow slave.  Government never does anything "good" with "your" money.  If they had not borrowed from it for the past 80 years and spent all the money like drunken sailors it might actually be solvent.  Speaking of "your" money where is it? Do you think you own that bank account when you opened it up and deposited money in it?  Do you honestly believe you are entitled to anything you think is yours? There is no respect for private property any more unless you happen to be a member of the political parasite class.  We are born slaves and we will die slaves.  Fucking anarchy and a French Terror style awakening is the only thing left to do.

spooz's picture

See, I consider keeping our country from looking like a third world country with a peasant class by maintaining social safety nets is "something".  And the "political parasite class" would be nothing without their corporate enablers.  Letting them destroy whats left of the good part of government is a sure road to plutocracy and serfdom.

Freddie's picture

Dude - maybe you did not get the memo.  It is over.  It ended in early Nov 2012.  Get a clue.

spooz's picture

So how about taxing wealth over a certain amount, to allow the comfortably well off to remain so?  It would be a good way to reverse growing inequality. Those with great wealth are stashing it safely outside of our economy for the most part.  Hardly seed corn. 


Hannibal's picture

Why don't we stop the trillion dollars fucking wars and leave granny's ss check alone.

Shoegazer's picture

Because the US deficit exceeds military spending.  Even if we spent 0$ on the military we will still go broke.

WallowaMountainMan's picture


since no one thing being eliminated can cover the entire debt we should not cut no one thing?

just askin....


as to math on the big d budget....methinks cutting half covers soc security for ever-ish....400b a year....

orez65's picture

I've had it!
All the fucking arguing
All the fucking financial ignorance
Shit, 99% of people don't even know what money is.
I just had a relative ask me to write her an employment denial letter so that she can keep receiving unemployment benefits.
Give me, give me ...
Steal, steal ... from the taxpayers
Fuck all of you ...

spooz's picture

At least she was required to have a letter.  Most people don't have a relative to do "favors" for them.  Greedy fuck.

Marley's picture

"The Social Security money helped to finance wars and other government programs. But none of it went to Social Security.  The actual money was replaced with non-marketable government IOUs, called “special obligations of the Treasury.”  These IOUs are not at all like the marketable Treasury bonds held by China and other U.S. creditors. They are nothing more than an accounting record of how much Social Security money was spent for other purposes."

Hope you enjoyed your wars.

MrSteve's picture

The best hard asset strategy to beat the tax man is to give away appreciated collectibles, like gold, which is taxed at 28% by the IRS and our Congress. The worthy non-profits get your appreciated PM. You get to deduct the full amount, up to whatever rules allow, the charity gets positive cash flow and the IRS gets red ink. You get to feel good and yet smug about leveraging PM and minimizing your tax bill.


NoDebt's picture

To those baby boomers who "paid into the system" and "deserve to be paid" I would say this:

Yes, you paid in.  But you also elected politicians who took the money right back out again and spent it on other things- mostly on yourselves.  THAT is why the SS Trust Fund cupboard is bare.  There's nothing in it but IOUs.  Money's gone, man.  Has been for a long time.

Go ahead and hate me for saying that but it won't make a damned bit of difference.  The die is cast already.  You may very well get every dollar that's owed to you but if you do those dollars won't buy you much.

Really disappointing this article is looking at 2033- when the trust fund is expected to run out of money.  Reality is, it's already out of money (see above) and starting to draw on the general revenues of the government.  It won't make it anywhere close to 2033 before it blows up.  Add in the fact that government medical entitlements are already running in the red and sinking fast..... all that red ink flows to the same bucket.  This is the point where all those "unfunded liabilities" some people people think are nothing but bogeymen start to wake up and become reality.  This is it happening.

chubbar's picture

You know what I find interesting No Debt, that folks like you, who are quick to blame older folks for not taking care of business by voting in politicians who would look out for "our" interests, don't seem to pay attention to the fact that you and your age group haven't done a fucking thing along those lines either. I mean if you think that voting is the difference in fixing this debacle then where the fuck are your people? Why isn't shit fixed? That's right pal, no group owns these assholes running this show and don't forget, 20 years ago there wasn't an internet that allows like minded folks to actually learn about the bullshit these guys are pulling. If anyone is responsible going forward it is going to be the younger gereration that chooses to sit around playing with their Ipads while a plethora of information flows around them describing the fraud of those in charge.

holdingontomypants's picture

well..I was born in 1965 so I get the pleasure of having to wait until age 67 now instead of 65. Tell me how that is fair to me and the baby boomers get theirs at age 65? How much am I losing waiting the additional two years? So, I get to put in for a few more years and have to wait a few more years. Guess by the time my son is eligible it will probably be 75 for him. Its coming..just you wait and see. And yes, these low interest treasury bonds with ZIRP is killing the system. How about they just let me cash out and I will invest it in gold and silver instead that way I have it and they can't fuck with it.

Lednbrass's picture

I was born in '66, anyone born from the mid sixties on that thinks they will get much of anything is completely out of their mind. By the time you hit 65 the chance of their being a functional financial system much less a central government is slim.

Dan Conway's picture

I was born in 1968 and never seriously saw SS as being solvent when I retired.  Many older than me (mostly boomers) agreed that SS would be solvent.  However, I was sadly mistaken that many of these seem people would be so surprised by what is happening today.  Many of these people say that my generation and my kids will be totally screwed but we won't make the cutline before it goes broke.  Ask someone under the age 18 whether they intend to pay trillions of dollars in taxes to support boomers, public pensions, useless government and other freeloaders.  They don't want to work!  If anyone's retirment plan is based on the government (and their default plan to soak the young) they are the ones that are screwed.  Obummer care is designed to let old people die younger (i.e. denying the boomers the healthcare they will need in 5-10 years) and then take their homes to fund healthcare for the poor (i.e. everyone else).  I am not young enough to escape this mess but I will probably be young enough to still work and bum a ride to mexico for some unofficial healthcare when I need it.  Maybe I will still be young enough to help my kids purchase really cheap housing from those that just got their obummercare death sentence.  But I feel for those older people in need of real healthcare services to keep going will realize that the joke was on them when the government social worker tells them they don't qualify for healthcare. 

Abaco's picture

I'm a 55 year old boomer. I've known all my working life that SS and the rest of the fed crap is nothing but a sham. I have 5 grandkids now. I don't expect nor want a penny out of SS.  What I want is to have it killed. I have 5 grandkids and I don't want my kids and grand kids to pay for this crap. Certainly don't want them having to pay for all the worthless POS's on government pensions while they struggle to raise their own families.

SS, medicaid, medicare, etc. are all programs based on fraud and theft.  So is most government employment as politicians cut deals with great pensions to buy off support. The banking system is based on fraud and theft. The bail outs were fraud and theft.

I'm not wealthy. I have made a lot, been taxer a lot, and lost a lot. Still have to be productive. I'm gong Gault as best I can and advising my kids to do the same. 




Moe Howard's picture

Same age, same number of grandkids, and most every thing else you said.

I agree. This is only a suprise to morons. Anyone our age that bothered to investigate knew we wouldn't get a dime. It was just more taxes.

ronslim's picture

You really buy into the the boomers are at fault BS. The 1913 thingy changed politics forever and unless that thingy is removed you smug, immature little twits will just keep slaving and blaming at whomever the pols point their stinky fingers. 

Can you really believe boomer voting made the difference? If you buy that then you must believe the last election was a fair contest between the two most eligible candidates. Anyone in politics that screwed with the fed reserve system effectively has always been disappeared. 

I do not expect to receive benefits from SS and never have and yet I have paid. The fixed idea out there STILL is "our system works if we just get the right people in there and anyone who believes otherwise is unamerican." I have yet to see any activist get around that one. Good luck.

eclectic syncretist's picture

Exactly,  so long as money is imagineered, how can debt be real?  It's all a big joke at the ordinary citizen's expense, set up so the banksters can skim their welfare checks off the backs of honest peoples hard work.

blunderdog's picture

    But you also elected politicians who took the money right back out again and spent it on other things- mostly on yourselves.

No one who paid ANY ATTENTION AT ALL believed we could afford Medicare D *and* several wars *and* massive tax cuts, but it all sounded so appealing.  I wonder if they put the guy on teevee who could barely fumble his way through a sentence to make it seem more "believable." 

I'll take two of what he's drinking, thanks!

spooz's picture

Right.  After 9/11 you were SCREAMING for the war on terrorism to stop because you were the only one paying ANY ATTENTION AT ALL.

blunderdog's picture

Well, I don't really remember "the war on terrorism" BEFORE 9/11, personally--I'm sure it was going around, it was Reagan's baby, right?--but I was opposed to militarizing my hometown and invading Iraq.

I had said at the time we should conduct some intensive "anti-al Qaeda" operations by clearing Tora Bora and such, but I was always in favor of providing evidence that bin Laden was the mastermind and requesting normal diplomatic extradition from the Taliban.  They had offered to extradite when we shared the evidence against him, and they WERE our former allies.

What were you doing back then?

spooz's picture

I had already started voting third party by then, couldn't stomach the duopoly and was a MIC hater from early on.  Oh, until 9/11, after which I marched along like a good little sheeple to the war on terrorism tune. Seeing the horror live on my teevee shocked me to submissiveness.  I became patriotic for a stretch, until the WOT became a joke.

blunderdog's picture

    Seeing the horror live on my teevee shocked me to submissiveness.  I became patriotic for a stretch, until the WOT became a joke.

We tend to hate most in others those characteristics reminiscent of our *own* failures.

spooz's picture

Don't really know what you are referring to here.  What am I missing with this non sequitur?

blunderdog's picture

Your first reply to me sounded a bit hostile, in case you didn't intend that.

spooz's picture

Politicians sold us a bill of goods about trickle down economics.  Too bad we put so much faith in economic soothsayers.

The SSTF invested payroll taxes in treasury securities. Do you expect it to stand behind other holders of public debt and take a haircut? Is everybody who has invested in TBonds stealing from general revenues?

And I blame YOU for all the corruption that is continues to grow in today's crony capitalistic economy, since I didn't vote.  If you voted, you are to blame.

Oh, and wake me up when the bond vigilanties finally make an appearance.

NoDebt's picture

No, dude.  It was just you, apparently.

In my world I was schooled more than 2 DECADES AGO what would happen with SS and other entitlements.  How it was a Ponzi scheme.  How it would collapse under the weight of demographic shifts as Baby Boomers age.  How the government was going to use the juicy SS surplus before it ever made it back into the hands of retirees.

Only the stupid believe the promises of politicians running what would be called a Ponzi scheme if it were not a government program.  You would have to be blind not to see how this was going to go down.

And you blame ME for the corruption?  I assme you meant "YOU" in the general/plural sense, and not me personally.  Because I take care of my own, friend.  I'd just rather not see my children buried in crushing debt to support lying politicians' campaign promises.

spooz's picture

Were you also schooled on trickle down economics?  Or do you have selective schooling? And just who were you voting for 20 years ago that was not to blame for what we have today?

And who knows how much better off we would be if we had reformed health care like Clinton wanted to 20 years ago.  Entrepreneurs might not be afraid they would end up homeless and hungry risking their savings in a new business idea if we had a safety net like Sweden's.


The Alarmist's picture

I always figured they would live up to their word and pay me the benefits promised.  I also figured they would do it in dollars worth little more than a roll of Scott's.

l.kimbot's picture

Thanks, Bruce.  2 great reads this morning.

crzyhun's picture

One of the first steps is to get as many people back to work as possible! TO do this, you do not raise taxes, do not effectuate greater regs, you do not penalize productivity, you do not pit one class against another, you do not devalue the $$.

We are on the long march to social welfare and will soon arrive at the station of Penury.

The Alarmist's picture

Dude, if you get all those people back on the rolls of the working, then what the hell are the 20 to 30 million Mexicans in the US going to do? If you've watched any news in the last two years, you'll get an idea of who really shows up for Greece-like protests and makes themselves heard, and it ain't the folks who were born here.