The Social Security Trust Fund Is A Fantasy Says…Democrat Al Franken?
Conservatives have been railing against the notion that the Social Security trust fund is financially secure for years now, only to be poo-pooed by liberals who assure us that all is well. But the debt debate in Washington DC has turned everything on its head.
Now it’s Republicans arguing that the trust fund is flush, and that the government could pay out on checks even if the debt limit wasn’t raised, while Democrats argue that the pay-outs add to the national debt. Here’s Al Franken, on the floor of the Senate, destroying about 15 years of Democrat talking points through a cloud of smug so thick he apparently can’t see the irony of it all (via Verum Serum):
It was just a couple of weeks ago that Democrat Rep. Xavier Becerra, in a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee, argued that Social Security wasn’t adding “a dime” to the national debt. But that was before Democrats needed to use the possibility of Social Security checks not going out to scare voters away from real budget reform efforts.
Now that they need a talking point, it’s apparently no sweat to throw decades of rhetoric under the bus and turn about 180 degrees.
Of course, if America doesn’t raise the debt ceiling Social Security checks could still go out. We’d have to slash spending in other areas to be sure to make those checks a priority. But, theoretically, they could go out.
But Franken is right. There is no trust fund. There is only money the federal government owes itself.
Update: By the way, Franken has been on a bit of a roll of late. Here’s a speech in which he says we should make “Welcome Terrorists” signs for the borders if the government gets shut down: