That's pretty much it. That "money we don't have to pay back" is largely from Social Security and retirement benefits.
But not all. If someone wants to make a separate argument about SS and Medicare, I'm fine with that. But simply adding up the total national debt and using it as an economic indicator is wrong.
Barring some massive sea change in the next decade, that money will have to be paid back. Congress won't "zero it out" and leave Social Security in a hole
where payments aren't being made.
Um... Joph? You get that that's the yearly surplus/deficit of payroll taxes compared to the cost of the programs, right? It has nothing to do with whether we left some cash in the account from past years. The problem, which that chart clearly illustrates, isn't that we spent the money from past surpluses, but that SS (and Medicare) are projected to cost more than payroll taxes are paying for and will continue to cost more as far as we can project into the future. Unless that is changed, it wont matter in the long run whether we'd taken that money via intergovernmental transfer or not.
It's like realizing that you're spending $500/month more on your household budget than you earn, but instead of identifying that as the problem, you blame your bleak financial outlook on that $5000 you spent on a vacation 5 years ago. If only you hadn't spent that money, you'd be fine! Um... No. You wouldn't. You'd just be broke a little bit later is all.
The problem is with the cost/revenue ratio, not with what we did or didn't do with the funds themselves.
****, even Rick "SS is a Ponzi Scheme!" Perry is promising retirees and near-future retirees that Social Security will be secure for them -- with what money?
Not with the couple trillion we'd have had if we hadn't "raided" social security and medicare. He's talking about actually reforming the system to fix that cost/revenue ratio. Which is the right thing to do.
Gbaji really, really wants us all to think it "doesn't count" because, frankly, he just doesn't like the numbers and has some bizarre need to lecture people at length about stuff he knows little about.
Huh? I'd love to blame Obama for a higher debt number Joph. I don't use it because I'm honest and consistent. For 8 years, I made the exact same argument about public debt versus national debt when Bush was president. And I'm still making the same argument now that Obama is in office even though it would certainly benefit my "side" to make the debt seem bigger. WTF? I'm now being blamed for *not* being partisan?
Does anyone here see massive cuts to Social Security coming from Congress on the near horizon? Anyone? Then can we grow up and admit that this isn't "pretend debt" that'll go away with a wave of a pen? Either the money is actually replaced or else we fund SS (and Medicare and the retirement benefits) with public debt; it's the same end result either way.
And it's the same result if we'd not used that money along the way as well. I already explained this. It is pretend debt because we aren't actually borrowing money until we actually don't have sufficient revenue to pay for the cost of the program(s) and actually... wait for it... borrow money
. If you want to complain about this, go complain about the decision made back in 1969 to change how we managed the funds for those programs. I'm looking at the actual reality of the situation, and you're fantasizing about what might have been if we'd done things differently over the last 40+ years.
Your approach seems somewhat pointless. I'm not even sure what you think we should do about it, or who you think we should blame, or how you think it affects us. We don't have that money. We haven't had that money for 40 years. As I stated earlier, you and I have spent our entire working lives under a system in which the payroll taxes we paid for those retirement benefits were *not* held in any sort of trust for us to receive later, but rather a system where we paid this year for the benefits of retirees this year, and when we retire, we'll be paid for by the people working at that time. And we've known our entire lives that when we retire, the existing payroll tax rates will not be sufficient to pay for our benefits. This is not new. It's not something that just magically appeared in the last few years. You can't blame this on any president sitting now, or that either of us have ever voted for.
I guess I'm not sure what you think we should do? Do you honestly think that counting the money taken from those programs as "debt" actually changes anything going forward? Unless we change that cost/revenue ratio, it really doesn't. It's just political wrangling for the sake of wrangling. It does not change the long term cost reality one penny. It never did. I don't understand what you think you're trying to accomplish here.