Letter: Not the end of the Social Security conversation
This letter is in response to Pete Feistmann’s letter, “Butch Mazzuca and fake news,” in the Jan. 7 edition of the Vail Daily. Pete, you said that Butch Mazzuca’s statement that “$2.9 trillion in government IOU’s aren’t the same as tangible assets” is silly. In the spirit of our always mutual friendly respect, I beg to differ.
A government IOU, especially the odd one supposedly in place to cover Social Security, is not a government bond or the equivalent of a government bond, which is tangible, enforceable and collectible by the bond owner. There is no identifiable “owner” on the other side of this particular IOU and not one of us can enforce it or collect upon it. Social Security is not even part of the national government debt. It is simply a government program that can be curtailed or changed at any moment. And it has been changed many times and will likely be changed many more times.
The “mere hope, ”and that’s all it is, of collecting Social Security is not the same as being able to enforce a bond. The prospect of the IOU actually being paid is totally in the hands of the politicians. However, one can collect on a government bond regardless of which party is in power and the terms cannot be unilaterally changed without the consent of the bondholder(s), and there is a tangible instrument representing it.
I would be surprised if the Chinese would pay the same amount for one of these same IOUs as for one of our government bonds.