By Dennis Miller
Some people claim that our Social Security system isn't broke. Technically, they're right. The Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund (OASI) currently holds $2.5 trillion in special government Treasuries that can be redeemed at any time – in theory of course.
But here's the catch. What happens when the OASI needs those trillions of dollars to pay out benefits? Essentially, the government has to find the money to pay the face value of those Treasuries. So from that standpoint, Social Security is broke. The Treasury IOUs are not backed by any cash surplus, only by faith that the US government will somehow come up with the cash... probably by indebting itself further or by raising taxes.
Social Security was created by the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) and sold as a government-managed insurance program. We pay "premiums" to the OASI during our working years (actually the government just snatches money from our paychecks), which are supposed to be invested and provide retirement income for the rest of our lives. Our retirement is supposed to come from the income on those investments.
After taxing baby boomers for decades, the OASI is huge. But now that millions of those baby boomers are retiring, it's time for our government to tap into that fund to keep its promises.