Thursday, August 5, 2010

To the New York Times (which will never publish it) today

Your August 5th story, "Law Will Extend Medicare Fund, Report Says," repeats the same old chestnut about Social Security that we've heard or seen millions of times: ... "After that, the program will have to draw down the Social Security trust fund, which is not an actual reserve of money but an accounting device tracking the accumulated surplus. " I have never understood what this means, but I would like to. Aren't all such institutions merely accounting devices by this measure? I mean, is a bank an actual reserve of money or merely an accounting device? Surely banks do not have all the billions or millions of dollars they list as assets in little piles in a back room. Surely even Goldman Sachs and the companies that issue all the stocks they sell are also "just accounting devices." Is there something I don't understand here? If so, I would appreciate an explanation OR I would appreciate your discontinuance of this phrase, which seems only to be of use to those who would denigrate Social Security.
Thank you.
Carol Wheeler


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