Is Social Security Going Broke?

From today’s Los Angeles Times: Even Social Security’s friends sometimes get bollixed up in the bamboozlements of its enemies. The best example of that may be the “lockbox” scheme promoted by Al Gore during the 2000 presidential campaign. Gore was trying to defuse concerns that the government had “stolen” Social Security’s money, but in the process he handed the bamboozlers another weapon.

The focus of the concern was the condition of the Social Security trust fund. As my Sunday column explains, this concern is wholly fabricated; the trust fund is just fine. But the idea that Social Security’s surplus should be somehow sequestered, left untouched until it’s needed to pay benefits, is foolish and dangerous.

Why? Because that money is being banked over a period of 50 years or more. Plainly, if its value is not to be utterly destroyed by inflation over that time, it must be invested. But in what? Gold bars in the basement of Ft. Knox, like the hoard James Bond saved from destruction in “Goldfinger?” Towering mounds of cash? Diamonds? See column here: