Talk:Social Security Trust Fund

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purpose of wikipedia articles[edit]

The purpose of articles in wikipedia is to provide reliable information to anyone with a question. It is not for news stories. Therefore, the paragraph that begins, "this week, the president..." For that to be appropriate for an article here, the president would be repeating the same speech each and every week.

To ensure that the articles are reliable, wikipedia relies primarily on peer reviewers and editors that insist that original sources be provided for every significant point. Given sources, editors can seek to provide appropriate balance and tone if you aren't sure how to do so. And readers can verify the article by referring to the original sources cited.

This is not the forum for advancing points of view. Just the facts, please. Mulp 06:33, 12 January 2007 (UTC)


This statement is incorrect. First of all government securities are marketable assets, and second it is perfectly legal for a company to invest its pension funds in government securities.

Unlike private pension funds, the Social Security Trust Fund does not hold any marketable assets to secure workers' paid-in contributions. The Social Security Trust Fund "invests" surpluses in United States Treasury bonds and U.S. securities backed "by the full faith and credit of the government".

:Practically speaking, the federal government has used the Social Security Trust Fund in a way which would be illegal for any private-sector company to do - in order to help balance the federal budget, the government has borrowed money from the Trust Fund to pay current operating expenses and replaced those funds with government IOU's --- This "correction" is incorrect. It would not be "perfectly legal" for a company to "invest" its pension funds in its own securities - whether they were marketable or not. Corporate execs go to jail for that sort of chicanery.

Not true, I worked for a Fortune 100 company that forced all 401K contributions to be in their own stock, there were no other options.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:22, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

"All securities held by the trust funds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government, as required by law. Those currently held by the OASI Trust Fund are special issues (i.e., securities sold only to the trust funds)" You can not buy or sell these special issues on the market. The insert in the main article from the 2000 budget is absolutely correct. Once the social security taxes fall below the retirement insurance requirements (2015?), other taxes or government debt or reduced federal spending in other areas will be required to meet the entitlements of the social security recipients. There is no money as we understand it in any US Government trust fund. Lamar White

Most U.S. government bonds are marketable, but the ones held in the Social Security Trust fund are not. The two statements above are correct. I do have a problem with the bolded portion though and feel the whole second paragraph should be deleted outright. I'd make the changes myself but I'd probably come under attack from some wacko who sees this as an attack on his political ideology, ingores the facts, and revert my good-faith edit. Wiki was great starting out but too many overzealous conservatives and liberals alike will modify or revert articles on political issues in order to fit their own agenda.

While I appreciate the emotion that many feel on this topic, wikipedia is not a debating forum where opposing views are argued, nor a forum for publishing original research or analysis. While points of view can be presented, these must be those of others, with appropriate citations, and with opposing positions of similar stature given equal credence. (Btw, I have been considering many of the claims made, and I believe that the assumptions, and solutions proposed are deeply flawed, merely moving problem from one place to another without eliminating it and without fixing the problem identified. However, much as I would like, this is not the forum to present my analysis.) Mulp 06:20, 12 January 2007 (UTC)


I was intending to categorize this article, but can't figure out the appropriate category? Should it be USA government, Economics ??? Would be good if someone stamp some category down there. gathima 16:01, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Trust Fund???[edit]

There is NO Social Security Trust Fund. Any politician who says otherwise is lying. Gore actually had a good idea about that "lockbox." Username:BRivera

This article is Littered with politically motivated falsehood and disinformation. It is trying so hard not to upset right wing ideologues it is near useless. If wikipedia is going to became the home of semantic ideowarfare then wikipedia is going to become a useless rag.

By social security trust fund every american interested in the subject knows that in reality means debt owed to social security recipients for money borrowed from the system. That the last half of this article has become a disembling apologetic to ideologues hurts, not helps, its credibility. If an "explanation" of trustfund is needed it can be worded just as i did above. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:46, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Technically, the surplus is not a trust fund because it has been raided by its fiduciary with a bunch of "IOU"'s left behind. In the private sector, this sort of embezzlement would be illegal. (talk) 07:39, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Need reliable sources in order to include "Is the Trust Fund Real? (economic perspective)"[edit]

The "Is the Trust Fund Real" (economic perspective) lacked any sources whatsoever. As Wikipedia's Verifiability policy explicitly states:

The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. "Verifiable" in this context means that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source. Editors should provide a reliable source for material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, or it may be removed.

If the analysis that section offered was accurate, then finding many reliable sources from the field of economics to document it should be easy. If the analysis was, instead, the conclusion of its contributors, then it was original research and should remain deleted.
- Kelly Ramsey 21:10, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

This is pretty basic economics, and I didn't think it was likely to be challenged. If you review the cited paper, it supports and is entirely consistent with what I wrote. (If you're not at a University, I think you're going to have to get some friend who is to download the paper for you.) From the paper, "Despite this success in building up the assets of the trust funds, it is not at all obvious that the intended intergenerational burden sharing will take place. In order for the trust funds to actually assist future generations of workers, they must increase national saving, presumably by raising government saving." The paper then proceeds to show that government spending rose in response to trust fund revenues combined with the Unified Budget and therefore national savings was not increased. -- Mgunn 21:50, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Being an economist, you think the only reason for the trust fund argument is whether there are any savings effects,... if you were a lawyer you would realize that the SSA needs authority to pay benefits when receipts fall short causing the giovt top borrrow. The xiatnmice of a positive bvalcnce allows such borrowings. When he Truist Fubnd runs out, the authority ends Chivista 21:54, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
That's why the section has (economic perspective) in the title. I agree that legally, the Social Security trust fund is very real. The economic question is whether baby boomers have been saving for their own retirement (through the trust fund). This is the subject of debate in the economics profession, but a significant body of evidence points to increased government spending and/or income tax cuts because of the trust fund, and therefore the money wasn't saved. -- Mgunn 22:04, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

With all due respect, unless a quotable source for the discussion of the analogy to bank deposits exists, that entire discussion should be removed, both because without citation it is unsubstantiated opinion, and because it is itself faulty. The trust fund is mostly smoke and mirrors with respect to funding because its assets consist of IOUs written by the government to itself.

To indulge in the vice of analogy myself, if I earn $100, write an IOU to myself for $100, and then spend $100 on current operating costs, my net worth is $0, not $100, notwithstanding that I continue to own an asset - my IOU - with a face value of $100. For that IOU to be satisfied other than by cancellation, the funds must come from my future income; in the case of social security, that means higher taxes. The trust fund is an accounting artifact with little economic substance. See, e.g., Daniel Shaviro, Making Sense of Social Security Reform, the University of Chicago Press, 2000.Tisias 02:45, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

You are exactly correct. - Mgunn (talk) 19:29, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Re: "A faulty analogy is sometimes made with an individual who deposits $1000 of his salary into a bank account but then applies to the same bank for a $1000 loan to buy a plasma TV. The analogy with Social Security falls apart because Social Security has never borrowed against its own assets to spend on other programs." - The analogy isn't faulty, at least not for the reason you say it is. The federal government is lending money to itself. It is the equivalent of the person who deposits $1000 and then borrows and spends $1000, not the Social Security Administration in isolation. Its not the best or clearest analogy, but I'll provide another one. If I take $100 from my left pocket, and put it in my right pocket, than I write an IOU (Left pocket, IOU $100, sincerely, right pocket). It doesn't make much sense to talk about the IOU as an asset. Even if the right pocket pays interest on the IOU (making it more like a loan or bond) it still isn't a real asset, because my "left pocket account" and my "right pocket account" are part of my overall financial situation, they aren't really separate entities. Similarly the Social Security Administration is part of the federal government. The feds can create any number of organizations and accounts, but moving cash from one to the other doesn't improve its balance sheet. Twfowler 23:04, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree completely that the IOU itself doesn't mean much. To fair though, the important thing is the big picture. To sort of continue your analogy, imagine: (1) Your left hand gets $100 and puts it in your left pocket. (2) You transfer $100 from your left pocket to your right pocket and place a $100 IOU in your left pocket and (3) Your right hand spends $100. Does the IOU in your left pocket represent savings of $100? The answer is COMPLETELY determined by whether your right hand would have spent the $100 anyway.
If your right hand would have spent the money anyway, you as a person are now $0 in debt instead of $100 in debt because of the revenue you got from your left hand. In some sense, the $100 IOU signifies that you are $100 less in debt because of what your left hand was doing. On the other hand, if your right hand wouldn't have spent the $100 if it didn't have it, then the $100 of revenue your left hand got wasn't saved... it was spent. Your total assets is the same ($0) whether your left hand got the $100 or not, and the IOU represents nothing. -Mgunn (talk) 19:29, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
The question really comes down to, does additional government revenue increase spending... When tax revenues go up, does the government spend more money in response. If the answer is yes, then the trust fund doesn't represent savings. Mgunn (talk) 19:29, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

This is a political opinion as opposed to objective fact and in fact this article is riddled with this rather bad ideological macroeconomic ideology that is indeed not based in objective fact. If this article is to gain any legitimacy at all the intentional false dichotomy and ideology need to be removed and there needs to be a simple, concise, logical explanation to the novice what "social security trust fund means". To wit a simple explanation that americans paid a certain amount into the social security system, that the government borrowed that money and owed a debt to the system is the objective fact. Right wing ideology is not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

For Wikipedia's purposes, the question really comes down to what factual assertions can be made based on reliable sources, and what opinions can be reported on by being attributed to prominent spokespersons. This section, as it now stands, is too heavy on dogmatic assertion and too light on citation. JamesMLane t c 20:47, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Have you bothered to read the Samwick, Feldstein, Shoven, Greenspan, and Orszag citations? What are your assertions based upon? (talk) 21:22, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Trust Fund Investment[edit]

The real problem with the SS Trust Fund is not its existence but how it's invested. The special-issue Treasury Bonds in which the TF is now invested returned 5.5% in interest earnings to the TF in 2005. The Social Security Administration is essentially giving TF money to the Treasury to cover the National Debt. When the special-issue bonds expire, they are simply rolled over to a new issue. This is an irresponsible way of investing Trust Fund money. The SSA could get better rates of return on TF investment by buying municipal or corporate bonds. Moving TF investment into the private sector would provide stimulus for the national economy and make money available for growth. It would inject liquidity into the TF where none exists now. It would also remove any question as to the actual existence of the Trust Fund.

Sooner or later, the Federal Government must begin paying down the National Debt. The stability of the Dollar demands it. When SSA begins seeing a shortfall in FICA funding, it will have no recourse but to begin cashing its Treasury Bonds. It would much better to adopt a program of regular bond retirement than to wait for a day of reckoning. Virgil H. Soule (talk) 08:57, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

The SSA is just a wing of the federal government. If the SSA invests in an external asset, then the rest of the government will have to cut spending or raise even more debt. The probability of slashing spending is up for debate, but if debt increases, then the federal government is essentially borrowing more debt so that one of its arms can invest in external investments. That's like you mortaging your house so you can buy investments. How much sense does that make? Novasource (talk) 03:40, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles must state the truth and not parrot politicians[edit]

When describing the Social Security Trust Fund, we must be careful to describe it as it is.

Since it holds no true assets, it makes no sense to call it a "fund" except when referring to its proper name. I have seen nothing to lead me to believe it is anything other than an accounting scheme.

If GM's Chevrolet Division borrows and spends money from GM's Pontiac Division, is there any true fund? No. Same with Social Security when other branches of the federal government spend Social Security's surpluses.

Novasource (talk) 03:36, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

You're right. The article should describe the Social Security Trust Fund the way it is and not the way some political hack would like you to believe it is.
The fact is that the Trust Fund holds special Treasury securities, IOUs if you will, for the dollars that have been spent elsewhere. We can debate whether the Treasury securities can be paid and whether they have any real value, but they exist and they are held in the Trust Fund. — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 05:13, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
That's fine as a technical detail in the article. But it does not change the fact that when you can't double-book spent money as an asset--at least in any honest accounting system I know of.
Social Security is just a branch of the federal government. It's not a separate institution.
Novasource (talk) 05:20, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Nonsensical or inappropriate sections[edit]

The following are some combination of nonsensical or inappropriate for a Wikipedia entry. I've moved them here for posterity in case someone wants to clean them up. Novasource (talk) 03:42, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

The Trust Fund and Payroll-Tax-Funded Private Retirement Accounts[edit]

If part of the payroll tax is diverted to fund private accounts, the Social Security Trust Fund would be exhausted before 2042, and the federal government's ability to fund benefit payments after the Trust Fund is exhausted would cause the percentage of fully-funded benefits paid to fall significantly below 74% (the percent of benefits paid would depend on the amount of payroll taxes diverted to private accounts). Social Security could pay full benefits through the forecast period (i.e. through 2080) if any of the following were enacted: an immediate cut to all benefits of 13%; an increase of 16 percent in payroll taxes (i.e. by nearly 2 percentage points, bringing the FICA tax to 14.4% of payroll); or some combination of tax increases and benefit reductions. [1]
Supporters of Bush's call for significant change in the Social Security system often refer to the Social Security Trust Fund as "really only an accounting mechanism" and dismiss the 2042 date as irrelevant. [2] Opponents of Bush's plan are more likely to argue that the Trust Fund assets are legally available to the Social Security Administration, with the result that "the total amount received by Social Security beneficiaries is not subject to the annual Congressional appropriation process." [3]

An Economic Perspective on the Structure of the Social Security Trust Fund[edit]

From an economic standpoint, the question of whether the trust fund is fact or fiction comes down to whether the trust fund contributes to national savings or not.[1] If $1 of Social Security taxes increases national savings by $1, the trust fund is real. If $1 of Social Security taxes increases national savings by $0, the trust fund is not real. A substantial body of economic research argues that the trust funds have led to only a small to modest increase in national savings and that the bulk of the trust fund has been spent.[2][3][4][5] Others suggest a more significant savings effect. [6]
If the Social Security Trust Fund causes government spending to be higher and/or income tax rates to be lower, then the trust fund is not contributing to national savings. No money is being saved. On the other hand, if government spending and tax rates aren't affected by the existence of the trust fund, then the trust fund has contributed to national savings. If trust fund increases national savings, then it really is a trust fund and has fulfilled its purpose. This has been the subject of considerable controversy.
An interesting comparison concerns the secondary market for third world debt, where traders have actually assigned dollar values (generally as a percentage of face value) to the obligations of certain third world governments. According to some, the "value" of the Social Security trust funds hinges critically on the federal government's ability to pay back the money that it has borrowed from Social Security. This would be true if the U.S. Social Security trust fund held debt of foreign countries, but as is, it is an incorrect and misleading comparison because the federal government is lending to itself. If you write an I.O.U. to yourself and count this as an asset, this presents very different issues than if someone else writes you an I.O.U.
The economic question is NOT whether the bonds represent legal obligations that will be fulfilled, the economic question is whether the U.S. bonds held by Social Security represent savings by allowing Social Security taxes collected in the past to reduce the need for taxes in the future. Was $1 of taxes collected in 1980 saved so that it could be spent on a retiring baby boomer in 2020 (without tax increases)? If the only way for the federal government to repay the bonds held by Social Security is by raising taxes in 2020, this suggests that the money collected in 1980 was spent on other government activities, not Social Security. Those who believe the trust fund is real would say that tax increases would have been even higher without the trust fund.
The following two scenarios help illustrate the concept. Depending on which scenario is right, Social Security is either an accounting fiction or represents real economic savings.
Scenario 1 (Trust Fund is an accounting fiction):
  • 1980: $1 payroll tax collected in 1980
  • 1980: $1 lent by Social Security to the federal government
  • 1980: Federal government increases spending on government programs by $1
  • 2020: Federal government raises taxes by $1 plus interest to repay the loan to Social Security
  • 2020: $1 plus interest transferred from Federal Government to Social Security.
Scenario 2 (Trust Fund represents real economic savings):
  • 1980: $1 payroll tax collected in 1980
  • 1980: $1 lent by Social Security to the federal government
  • 1980: Federal government increases spending on government programs by $0
  • 2020: Federal government raises taxes by $0 to repay the loan to Social Security. Any tax increases that occur in 2020 would have happened anyway without Social Security.
  • 2020: $1 plus interest transferred from Federal Government to Social Security.


  1. ^ Nataraj, Sita (2004). "Has the Unified Budget Undermined the Federal Government Trust Funds". National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, NBER Working Papers: 10953.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ Nataraj, Sita (2004). "Has the Unified Budget Undermined the Federal Government Trust Funds". National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, NBER Working Papers: 10953.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  3. ^ Samwick, Andrew A. (1999). ""Social Security Reform in the United States."". National Tax Journal. LII (4). 
  4. ^ Feldstein, Martin S. (2001). ""Social Security"". National Bureau of Economic Research Working paper 8451 (September).  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  5. ^ Greenspan, Alan (March 2, 2005). "Economic Outlook and Current Fiscal Issues". Testimony before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives. 
  6. ^ Diamond, Peter A. (2004). "Saving Social Security: A Balanced Approach. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
Without citations, or any supporting economic theory (even references to relevent wikipedia content), the analogy of an "IOU to yourself" is ridiculous. I'm going to delete again it since it's saved here for reintroduction after revisions. Lamfr (talk) 14:58, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

This contributor is correct, "Practically speaking, the federal government has used the Social Security Trust Fund in a way which would be illegal for any private-sector company to do - in order to help balance the federal budget, the government has borrowed money from the Trust Fund to pay current operating expenses and replaced those funds with government IOU's" This contributor is also correct, "The economic question is NOT whether the bonds represent legal obligations that will be fulfilled, the economic question is whether the U.S. bonds held by Social Security represent savings by allowing Social Security taxes collected in the past to reduce the need for taxes in the future." The best analogy (though not perfect, of course) is that of the 401K - also a retirement program, (the difference being, in real life you have a separate account). But let's just look at what happens when your employer collects the money. Legally he has a limited time to deposit it in your account. But, to carry the analogy, suppose he didn't. Suppose he just put an IOU in your account instead. Suppose he then spent the money, telling you, "I'll guarantee your payment with the full faith and credit of our company" as he continued to collect more contributions from you and other employees. That is precisely what the Federal Government has done. The ... money ... isn't ... there - at least not sufficient money. With the declining work force and increasing numbers of retirees, the Federal Government has a few choices; they can raise the retirement age, they can cut benefits, they can print money to pay the IOUs. So far, with the exception of the slight raise of the retirement age in the '80s, they have chosen option 3 in the article, they have monetized the debt. I am sure there are partisans that participate in this article that will say I am biased, an idealogue, etc. Instead of those ad hominem attacks, I would encourage them to point to one element of the above which is not factually correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ecgberht1 (talkcontribs) 15:26, 19 June 2011 (UTC)


This article has been turned into a polemic. It's full of allegations stated as facts ("All money represented by the Fund has already been spent on other federal government programs") and scare quotes. As bad as the old article may have been, it was 100% better than this diatribe. — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 05:07, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Find me one dime that hasn't been spent on other programs. Novasource (talk) 05:11, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
The way this issue should be handled in the article is to present both sides of the debate. Some argue that the trust fund is a real trust fund, i.e., it holds assets for the benefit of future obligations owed to program beneficiaries. Some argue that it is merely an accounting ploy, i.e., the real money has already been spent and the "assets" in the trust fund are the equivalent of owing money to yourself.
We'll never settle the debate here. We should just present both sides in the article as objectively as possible. Bond Head (talk) 11:21, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Amazing bias[edit]

This article is astounding. It's just repeats the official line and doesn't bother to present reality.

The only way the non-accounting fiction side works is if you pretend the SSA is not part of the federal government. Um, what?

The SSTF is an internal IOU. It is utterly meaningless in any sense other than internal accounting. I'm amazed Wikipedia editors cannot see this. (talk) 02:43, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Per WP:NPOV, the point of view you espouse is fully presented in this article. What's bugging you is that other views are also presented, and your personal opinion is not given the status of undisputed fact. JamesMLane t c 03:21, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Origin of Congressional Raiding & I.O.U.'s[edit]

This article starts fifty years after the establishment of the Social Security Trust Fund, and fails to report the primary piece of information that most people would consult it hoping to find, namely, when did Congress begin raiding the Social Security Trust Fund for general expenditures, i.e., other than paying Social Security benefits, removing actual cash and leaving in its place a cynical and useless pile of never-to-be-paid "I.O.U.'s."? Who was president when that ugly and dishonest practice started, and which party controlled Congress? Have all administrations and Congresses done it since that time (yes)? Was the fund ever operated properly, as a true trust fund?

Clearly if it had always operated as a true trust fund, the federal government could long since have ceased collecting the tax, since the accrued cash properly and safely invested would now be generating more than enough increase to pay all Social Security benefits without further collection.

It is also clear that if anyone in the private sector operated a trust fund in the that Congress at some point began operating this one, the rascals would soon be indicted for theft, fraud, and/or embezzlement. The single most important reform that could be done in the federal government today would be to keep Congress' sticky fingers out of the Social Security Trust Fund for general expenditures, and let the money pile up for the purpose for which it was created.

King Alexander (talk) 08:51, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

You have some serious misunderstandings concerning the Social Security Trust Fund. It wasn't established in 1935, when Social Security was enacted, but in the early 1980s, when FICA tax revenue began to exceed benefit payments. From the very beginning, the cash was "invested" in special Treasury securities, so there was never a point at which Congress "began raiding" the fund; the Trust Fund is working just as it was intended to.
I don't know where you heard that the Trust Fund, properly invested, could have eliminated the need for future FICA taxes. That's just not so, even under the most optimistic (Madoffian) investment return assumptions. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 04:14, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

The $2.5 Trillion in the trust fund exists because revenues have exceeded payouts for a number of years. Since the excess revenues have not been invested in any tangible economic assets, they simply represent cash which has been taken off the market. This has had the net effect of reducing the overall money supply. The act of paying out these benefit without taxing is just the same as having the government increasing the money supply. The inflation implications of this are obvious... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:37, 28 March 2010 (UTC), can you cite a source for your characterization of the trust fund? If your description is accurate, the US Government has effectively "stuffed $2.5 trillion into a matress." But I fear it is worse than that. The money hasn't been stuffed into a matress -- it has been spent and there's nothing in the trust fund. A much more accurate name for this fund would be the Social Security Mistrust Fund. Novel compound (talk) 00:05, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

"pay as you go" system[edit]

The article describes the Social Security Trust Fund as a "pay as you go" system. I'm not positive but I don't think that's correct. I think the earliest beneficiaries were drawing funds which had not yet been collected.  ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

It is a pay as you go system because it's not one in which each participant's contributions are put in an account and used later to pay that person's benefits. Instead, current benefits are paid out of current receipts.
Such a system doesn't operate 100% according to that model -- things are different at startup, and the Trust Fund exists because demographic changes (the baby boom) would make pure pay-as-you-go temporarily impractical for a few decades later this century. As a generalization, though, it's an accurate description. JamesMLane t c 23:16, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

False Claim in the Article[edit]

The article states that "The trust fund contains the securities that will be redeemed to make benefit payments in the future when contributions derived from payroll taxes and self-employment contributions no longer are sufficient to fully fund then-current benefit payments."

I'm aware that various politicians have described the trust fund in these terms; however, if this description is accurate, there would no difficulty making Social Security payments in the event that Congress does not raise the debt ceiling before Aug. 2, 2011.

And yet, President Obama stated "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't [raised the debt ceiling]. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it." [1]

This fact demonstrates that the Social Security Trust Fund is, at best, nothing like what the Wikipedia article claims it to be. Isn't it time that the article begins to reflect reality? Wikipedia is not a place to sell pipe dreams. Novel compound (talk) 08:09, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

If the United States defaulted on August 2, it s possible that regular bond holders wouldn't get paid as well. The 2.6 trillion dollar Social Security "Trust Fund" is counted as part of the 14.3 trillion dollar debt limit that the government reached in July. The national debt would only be 9 trillion dollars if you didn't include money owed to social security and other government agencies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mattwdc (talkcontribs) 06:50, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
This article is just badly written and beyond help. Stick to the main Social Security (United States). WCCasey (talk) 21:53, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
The net effect of "redeeming" the special issue securities in this fund is that the taxpayer must pay again to replace what was already funded once with the Social Security payroll tax. I was disappointed with the convoluted explanation that there is more than one way to make the fund whole, and also with the strange logic to determine whether or not it is a "real" trust fund. The link to US Treasury Bonds article is out of place, because there are no US Treasury Bonds in this Trust Fund, are there? (talk) 20:16, 22 July 2011 (UTC)Thanks for all the hard work, hope this edit is acceptable.


No discussion of security[edit]

It seems to be universally accepted that large debts to foreign lenders carry risks that debts to domestic lenders do not. The classic example is how the U.S. pressured the U.K. to cease hostilities during the Suez Crisis by threatening to sell some of its holdings of Sterling Bonds (see Suez_crisis#Financial_pressure). Presumably there are sources that discuss borrowing from the trust fund as safer than borrowing from, say, China. I hope that someone who knows this topic better than I do will draw upon them, and extend the article. ThomHImself (talk) 21:03, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Renaming the Article[edit]

I've been doing some research on the SSA as a part of larger work on Sovereign Wealth Funds. It seems to me that there is no such this as the 'Social Security Trust Fund' in law. There are two funds related to Federal Insurance Contributions Act for Social Security - the OASI (Old Age Surviors Insurance TF) and the DI (Disability Insurance). There is no such fund as the "Social Security Trust Fund." I grant that this usage is very common (in fact, SSA uses the phrase itself), however that doesn't change the fact that it is a kind of shorthand for the two funds, which are legally and financially separate. My initial thought was to create a Disambig that pointed to new articles, one each for DI, OASI (and perhaps the two medicare trusts as well) (and blank the content from this article). It occurred to me that first, there is not very much information available (to make an article) on either fund and that this might make it harder to find the information on the funds, however - so my second idea was to rewrite the article to make it much more clear that there is no such "Fund" as the "SSTF" - that there is a *political* concept of the SSTF and make the article about that, with a section on structure (basically rewrite the structure section and header of this article).

Any thoughts on that? My intention in all this is to clarify the position; right now the article seems like it's a discussion of the political concept of the SSTF - which is fine, but it doesn't really expose the *workings* of the thing very well. Sahrin (talk) 17:41, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree that they seem a bit convoluted, but they seem to be that way in many sources, which even list the two under the same acronym, OASDI. Also, if they are most commonly referred to under the same title 'Social Security Trust Fund', then we should also refer to is as such in the title, per WP:COMMONNAME. It's not clear to me how exactly they differ in structure and function, but I don't know the topic particularly well, so do you think they are sufficiently different that they could/should have their own articles? AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 05:02, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Size of the fund?[edit]

It would be nice to list the size of the fund, and it would be great if there were a chart showing how the size has changed over time. (talk) 22:44, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Noticebox/"real economic savings"[edit]

My problem with this piece as it sits is not that it seems chatty or essayish... it's that it descends into macroeconomic jargon that even I, someone who pays some concentrated attention to the topic, can't quite follow without falling off. Notably, in the Discussion section (which is somewhat essayish, but properly so IMHO), the phrase "real economic savings" is used multiple times, as the fulcrum of the argument, but with no real way to determine, either from context, or explicitly, whether what it means is "an increase in the amount of money in the American economy which is considered to be 'savings' rather than 'liquid assets/cash/checking' by whoever owns it", or whether it means "a reduction in the amount which is being spent by $UNNAMED_PARTY". Since it seems important to know which, the entire section falls apart; this stuff probably needs to be unpacked one more layer by a competent economist who speaks English.
--Baylink (talk) 22:07, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Undue weight of 2033 end date[edit]

I would suggest this article suffers from NPOV:undue weight do to the fact that it only mentions the 2011 report, and no reports prior or since. The number of years out that the trust fund would be exhausted changes each year - because revenue and GDP growth predictions change each year - sometimes moving out a year or two, sometimes moving in a year or two. It is true that we're no consuming the trust fund, which makes its end date less theoretical; but the end date has been about fifteen to twenty years in the future for the last two decades. This article does not seem to have that perspective. (talk) 21:35, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Copyright violation..[edit]

I removed a section that copies exactly material that claims to be copyrighted, see here. (talk) 13:03, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for your vigilance. I believe the author of that book copied "his" text from our article. Wikipedia editor Farcaster added it on May 11, 2012, and the book was published on April 8, 2014. In at least one place, the author acknowledges copying verbatim from Wikipedia. I think we can safely assume the paragraphs you found were quoted from this article and not vice versa. If you still believe there is a problem, please follow the instructions at WP:Copyright problems. Thank you. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 17:22, 20 July 2015 (UTC)