Monday, February 28, 2005

Lead Letter to the Editor in the Columbus Dispatch

It's amazing when you're used to Internet speed how slow the print media is. I sent in a letter to the editor of my local paper, the Columbus Dispatch, regarding Charles Krauthammer's rancid claim that the Social Security trust fund is "pieces of paper" and worthless. The article ran the Saturday before last; I emailed the letter the next day. Here it is, lead letter to the editor this morning. Whew!

I respond to the Feb. 20 Forum column by Charles Krauthammer, "Bush fails to convey issue’s urgency," in which he says Social Security is in crisis because the money coming in is being spent, not saved.

He claimed: "A piece of paper gets deposited in a vault in West Virginia saying that the left hand of the government owes money to the right hand of the government. These pieces of paper might be useful for rolling cigars. They will not save your retirement."

He said later, "There really is no trust fund."

In fact, these worthless pieces of paper in the Social Security Trust Fund are U.S. Treasury securities, backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Is Krauthammer suggesting that the government default on Treasury bonds?

If so, be prepared for the sky to fall, since the U.S. budget deficit is financed by foreign governments, overwhelmingly Japan and China, buying hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. Treasury securities.

They would not be amused to learn that they hold "pieces of paper," rather than the assurance that the United States will pay up. Neither would the many Americans who buy Treasury bonds as a safe investment.

In fact, what is obviously being planned by Krauthammer, President Bush and other Republicans, who talk endlessly about how the debt owed to the Social Security system is in worthless pieces of paper, is the largest looting of the Treasury in history.

Workers’ money has been used to pay for deficit spending and for tax cuts for the wealthy, and those in power have no intention of seeing that money paid back. Talk about class warfare.

Indeed. I'll let you know if any wingnuts - we have a lot of them in Columbus - respond.

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