Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Social Security Trust Fund: Default or No Default

There's been a lot of blogworld comment on whether (a) the Social Security Trust Fund is "real" or simply empty promises and (b) whether the Bush administration intends to effectively default on the bonds that are in the trust fund (and what, if any, consequences that is likely to have). For a taste of this discussion, look at this entry in Kevin Drum's Washington Monthly blog.

If occurs to me, however, that there's a relatively simple way not only to address the question, but to force everyone in Congress and in the administration to put their cards on the table. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi (with as many co-sponsors as they can get--all the Dems would be good for starters) should introduce identical legislation in the House and in the Senate declaring simply that the full faith and credit of the U.S. lies behind the Treasury securities in the trust fund. That legislation, if it passed, would place anyone attempting such a default in a tricky position.

And if it didn't pass, then we could ask, why do these people want us to default on an obligation of the government?


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