Excerpt Of The Day: The Real Size Of The National Debt

“Ask a congressman what the national debt is, and he will say $8.5 trillion. That’s a lot of money, but it completely ignores our two largest and most important government programs, Social Security and Medicare. If you include the promises made by those programs to workers who are already paying Social Security and Medicare taxes, the national debt jumps to $46 trillion.

So which number is correct? Do we face a mountain, or a Mount Everest, of debt? If you believe that Congress was just kidding about your retirement or health care benefits, we owe $8.3 trillion. If you think America is serious, the total is $46 trillion.

If you look closely at the annual letter you receive from the Social Security Administration, you will see that the benefits you’ve been buying with your payroll taxes are only “scheduled.” That’s a fancy word for maybe. The federal government can revoke them at will, according to the 1960 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Fleming v. Nestor.” — Jim Cooper

Hat tip to Captain’s Quarters for the excerpt.

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