[Submitted/published State Journal-Register]
If you were wondering how long the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme could last, the answer is official: 75 years.
With the September 30th fiscal year end, Social Security, born in 1935, also just marked the final year the Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF) will take in more than it shells out. So, it’ll take some time to wind down, but it’s reached the “last sucker” plateau, so it’s all downhill from here.
It accomplished this feat years ahead of schedule, depending on the last time you checked with the experts. In 2004, the Social Security trustees projected it would happen around 2018. By 2008, it was revised to 2017. By May of last year, the definitive answer was 2016. This past May, however, they admitted fiscal year 2010 was the end of the line. Oops.
Not that the SSTF is broke, according to the experts. In fact, the fund has around $2.6 trillion in it. In a “locked box!”
Just kidding. There’s no money – it’s all I.O.U.’s. For decades, when your withholding was collected and sent to the feds, they simply put another marker on the books and then spent the money.
Starting now, however, each year they’ll instead have to borrow from someone (hint: rhymes with “the Trinese”) so they can cover the extra payouts over receipts. That will grow every year — until it collapses.
I know — that could never happen. That would be like thinking the stock market wouldn’t always go up, or that the “Trinese” might decline to buy more of our debt, or housing prices could collapse and stay down for years, or unemployment could linger around 10% (17% the way they measured it twenty years ago). You know – crazy talk.
So, happy anniversary. And just remember — it’s hopeless, but not serious.