It would be unconscionable to "invest" the funds of the Old-Age,
Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (OASDI, more commonly referred to as
"Social Security") in the stock market, or in anything that puts the
principal at risk, even if doing so results in lower yields. The priorities (in
order of importance) that should govern the management of these funds should be
first safety, then liquidity, then yield.Treasury securities are AA+
rated (they would still be AAA rated, if not for the kamikaze brinkmanship
instigated by the "Let-It-Burn" faction of the Republicans in Congress),
extremely liquid, but do not offer great yields (about 0.1% for 3 month T-bills
to about 2.85% for 30 year T-bonds). Other money market and top-tier longer
term debt instruments are very safe, very liquid, and offer a little bit better
yields, and so would be viable options for OASDI fund investment.Any
politician who wants to invest these funds in the stock market is just trying to
help the rich get richer and keep the poor in their place. Anyone who tells you
different is selling something.
Read the small print in the articles. The main reason the ratings agencies are
nervous is not the amount of the debt, but that we have a government that cannot
agree on anything even when doom is near. Congress has the power of the purse,
but it is pretty meaningless unless people are willing to make concessions to
get the job done. By every measure, we are just one of every western country
heavily in debt. If we all decided to a debt write down only China, Germany and
the bond holders would be left holding the bag. Better we grow up and fix it.
The full faith and credit of the USA is becoming more and more meaningless. That
credit has been downgraded by some agencies. Almost all agencies give us a
negative outlook. And it's pretty obvious why. $15 trillion in debt now.
Perhaps $20 trillion in debt if Obama completes a second term in the White
House. That's what some are predicting. I'm not asking for zero debt.
I'm asking for small debt relative to GDP. 15-20 trillion dollars exceeds
our national product by a significant amount. Totally unsustainable.
KiilP,The difference between an IOU and a US Treasury bond is that
the bond is backed by the full faith and credit of the USA. That would be
nothing but a bunch of words except that in this case the credit is supported by
the taxing power of the Congress we elect. Who gets taxed? We do of course.
There is no question that we are in a soup of our own making but sooner (maybe
by the end of the year) someone will forge a compromise that will begin to turn
the ship. How many countries in the world have no debt? None.
Grover,The bailouts of the banks and General Motors were done so
with money from the US Treasury. The US Treasury owes the Social Security fund
nearly $3 trillion. The federal government is $15 trillion in debt overall. I
find it very hard to believe the SS fund is nothing but increasingly worthless
IOUs from the federal government.
KillP: Would you rather have China holding the paper? In a sense, we owe the
majority of the debt to ourselves. Please read something about the Social
Security trust fund before you confuse it with the general fund. Wall Street and
Auto bailouts were bills passed by Congress and signed by the President. The
money came from the General fund (and 30% was borrowed). Listen
carefully: The government borrows money daily and Social Security redeems bonds
daily to meet expenses. "Don't ask me how social security is ever
going to get its money back." Thankfully no one asked you since you clearly
don't understand how the system works on an ongoing basis.
Wanda B. Rich,I hope you realize that SS money is already being
invested in the stock market. The Social Security fund is nothing but IOU paper,
because every dollar that comes out of a worker's paycheck is immediately
borrowed by the US Treasury to, among other scams, bail out Wall Street firms
like AIG and General Motors. Now the federal government is $15 trillion in debt
so don't ask me how social security is ever going to get its money back.
The letter writer and many of the comments show a lack of any understanding of
financial management. Hopefully everyone has a checking and savings account and
a 401 K as well as social security, right. Do you expect the same returns from
these accounts? No. Why because they are accounts used for different things.
Everyone needs to be in the stock and bond market since in the long run it is
the only chance for substantial growth. The problem is that the growth is
unpredictable, but retirement is not. What if you need to retire when the market
is in the tank? The answer is not a pleasing one. Message to all
right wing folk posting here: The government doesn't "manage"
social security except in an accounting sense. They take in payroll tax funds
and pay out benefits. The leftover amount goes into interest bearing Treasury
bonds, the lowest risk investment on the planet. Several comments miss the real
point of the SS guarantee (and it is not the ability to print money): the taxing
power of the government to make good on promises. PS. Go to ssa.gov
and search "internet myths about social security".
"he doesn't understand how the free market economy works"Maybe he does understand, and that's why he would never risk SS funds in
the stock market. Go ahead, Jack, put your money in the stock market, but
don't take mine. Yes, I'd like to see some means testing and perhaps
an increase in the retirement age, given that people are living longer, but I
don't trust Wall Street at all. If speculating with SS funds is what Mia
Love wants to do, we should be wary about sending her to Washington where she
could do some real damage.My real question, however, is this: Is
anyone running for the House in the third district? Haven't seen a TV
commercial or even an annoying lawn sign. For all I can tell, Mia and Jim are
running for the only seat in the state. How did Utah lose those other three
Agreed, author. The real gamble is allowing incompetent and corrupt government
administrators 'borrow' from social security to pay off the special
interests keeping them in power, like AIG, GM and Solyndra. Now we are $15
trillion in debt so the gamble obviously didn't work. Matheson, and all of
the other failures in Wasington who have squandered so much of the American
people's hard earned money, need to be sent home.
A system like social security should always be conservatively invested and never
be willing to risk much in the stock market. Of course your own investments
should do better. But they should also be able to do much worse.
During the decade of the 2000's I avoided a crash in my 401(k) only by
getting out of the Market. I could not have retired if I had not done that.
Social Security is really a pre paid retirement annuity. We don't need to
risk it in the market to the certain benefit of Wall Street.
Yeah Jack why don't you ask anyone how their 401k plans are doing. Ask
anyone who wanted to use their 401k to retire in 2006 how that went for them, oh
wait, they couldn't retire because Wall Street ruined the global
economy...Seriously Des News do you have a rule that there must be
at least one "Obama bad, government bad" Rush Limbaugh/Faux News
regurgitation letter per day?
Social Security isn't an investment program, its an insurance program. Privatization has been tried in Galveston TX. Both the G.A.O. and
Social Security studies of the Galveston plan concluded that lower-wage workers,
particularly those with many dependents, would fare better under Social
Security, while middle- and higher-wage workers were likely to fare better, at
least initially, under the "Alternate Plan."
I've been investing with my employer's 401(k) since 1990. Despite
market drops in 1994, the dotcom burst, and the barney frank housing collapse
induced recession of 3 years ago (NOT GWB, Furry), my retirement account has
NEVER dropped below the combined employer/employee contributions, let alone
getting anywhere near what I alone have put into it. I am MILES ahead by
investing in the markets. Any fluctuation in 94, from the dotcom burst, or the
barney frank induced housing collapse, has been solely in the GAINS in my
account. I have accumulated nearly 4 times what I have invested. I cannot say
that for my contributions to SS.Maverick, don't take offense,
but for once I agree with you.
Furry1993: I am amazed that you think the federal government is a less risky
investment than Wall Street. Even during the worst part of the economic
collapse, all the Lehman Brothers, AIG, CountryWide and other risky ventures
added together did not even come close to the $trillion dollar a year deficits
our government runs up.If it could not print its own money, the
federal government would have gone bankrupt way faster than Lehman Brothers did.
Even Bernie Madoff couldn't come close to the kind of financial
mismanagement we see every day in Washington D.C.
To Jack Emery:Given what the stock market did when GWBush tanked the
economy, investing in the economy is vrey risky. Granted it is not as risky
since the President has been able to clean up some of the mess but, if Romney
gets in the White House, it will once again become a very risky invstment
(unless, of course, she invests in Bain). The people of the United States are
safer with Matheson in office.
"The market goes up, and the market goes down, but I'll take the market
any day over the government managing my retirement."This is your
first problem. SS isn't your retirement. If it is then you're in big
trouble. SS is a safety net. For folks who need it they cannot wait
for the market to recover. Let your retirement go up and down. Do not allow the safety net to go up and down. Let it stay consistent.