I keep reading about absurd figures regarding how deep our country is in debt. Right wing pundits whose most advanced mathematics class was the one they failed in third grade, will claim that entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security are technically in debt to the tune of more than one hundred trillion (with a "t") dollars! Is this possible? Good question. It's actually not possible! It's an example of what is called "smoke and mirrors."
Insurance companies, by federal law, must be separately licensed in each state in order to peddle their wares. Each state requires that the companies' individual state entities be indemnified, that is sufficiently capitalized, such that it would be able to pay its customers the policy limits promised to them. Thus AIG was solvent in all states in which it was licensed. AIG's overseas entities, with all their toxic loans and illicit credit swaps were grossly under-capitalized, however. Due to licensing laws, each AIG state entity suffered little chance of bankruptcy. Essentially, Congressional investors greedily bailed out AIG's useless foreign investments because the Congresspersons themselves had invested so much of their earnings in the worthless overseas enterprise. This clear violation of the "honest service statute" has been conveniently ignored by "Uncle Tom Holder's" Injustice Department, which could not tell a "felon" from a "feline."
Getting back to the hundred trillion (with a "t") dollar debt figure, it represents a higher degree of "cooking the books" than Nancy Pelosi's blackmailing the Congressional Budget Office into claiming that "Pelosi-Care" would actually save taxpayers more than a hundred billion dollars and lower the national debt. That this was, perhaps a trillion dollar lie, could have been discussed in ten years when results were in. The Republican lie is literally one hundred times as blatant and can be exposed now. What the feudal lords, such as Congressman Ryan are saying is that if Social Security/ Medicare were a private insurance entity, it would be required to have available more than one hundred trillion (with a "t") dollars in potential assets in reserve to be able to conduct business, while the U.S. Government employs a "pay as we go" system, collecting the necessary premiums each year.
While it is apparent to even die-hard Democratic demagogues such as Ms. Pelosi that the government must eventually extend the retirement age and limit various less than necessary benefits to Medicare and especially welfare recipients, it would still have to continue the "pay as we go" system. To do this, the 2.669 trillion (with a "t") dollars stolen from the Social Security Fund would have to be repaid from federal income tax or other appropriate tax sources and the inappropriate, but politically expedient payroll tax holidays dismissed as the farce they truly represent. The payroll tax holidays only hasten the demise of Medicare and Social Security.
As for the "unfunded liability" that the die-hard Republican demagogues like Paul Ryan crow about, no argument there, comrades! You go out and raise the hundred and three trillion( with a "t" ) dollars to capitalize your privatized Social Security and Medicare plan and I, for one, will gladly turn the whole system over to private insurance companies. That way, we rich people will not have to pay income tax to make up for the 2.6 trillion dollars we have already stolen from working people's payroll taxes (meant for Social Security/ Medicare) to finance our income tax cuts . Be careful not to tell your Republican voters that most of them already pay little or no income tax, but large amounts of payroll tax, so cutting income tax only affects them because the money has to be made up from their payroll tax! That way, we rich people will not have to pay income tax to make up for the trillions (with a "t") of dollars we would like to continue stealing from working people's payroll taxes (Social Security/ Medicare). Of course I can afford to pay forty thousand dollars a year for my privatized Medicare Insurance, at least until they drop me for costing them too much. As for my poor working-stiff neighbor, he can "go screw himself!" as you have advised him to do so many times before.
Allen Finkelstein, D.O.