Where is the Trust?
Let's see, the last time I looked, a trust fund was an account that preserves and manages your
funds for the future, as well as preserving your assets in the present. What changed while my
back was turned?
In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the "Social Security Act" into law. That law
created "a system of Federal old-age benefits" for workers and their families. It took the form of a
“trust fund.”
A trust is a process relationship in which a person or entity (the trustee) holds legal title to certain
property (trust funds), but is obligated by a fiduciary responsibility to exercise that legal authority
exclusively for the benefit of the individuals (the beneficiaries).
The trustee for the Social Security Trust Fund is our United States Government. Our government
has borrowed from and used the proceeds of the Social Security Trust Fund for other government
expenditures. The IOU’s alone would pay benefits projected further than 2042! WHERE IS THE
A recent suggestion to create Private Accounts is (in my humble, almost eligible opinion) the worst
possible idea of a cure for long term funding concerns over Social Security. Social Security can
only survive if we all participate. Taking out Social Security Tax Payments will weaken the financial
stability of the program and worsen the perceived funding deficiencies.
And, also in my humble opinion, facilitate the fondest hopes of those wishing to unwind the Social
Security System by compromising its basic rationales and fundamental purpose.
Many of the arguments over Social Security are self-serving. It’s called instant gratification. I
understand why those in favor of Private Accounts would like to take their money out of the
current Social Security Program. The opportunity to invest your designated Social Security Share
as you choose and leave it to your family after death would be great if 100% of the population
followed through, and all potential beneficiaries of S.S. were provided for by this method. That’s
called pie in the sky.
The Social Security Trust Fund can only work if all contribute fairly and draw only what they are
entitled to after retirement and until their death.
We have a larger work force of American workers funding Social Security than ever before in
history. We have a large group of “Baby Boomers” retiring soon; however, the legitimacy of the
Social Security crisis argument is still debatable.
I question the timing on the push to change Social Security. When one political party controls all
three branches of government, they have their best opportunity to pass legislation on highly
volatile programs like Social Security. With a balanced government, it would never fly. In my
Fortunately, the American people understand that changing Social Security as they have known it
since 1937 requires a more serious debate than the self-serving arguments currently being
We need to preserve the Social Security Program for the common good of all American  families.

Fred Flanagan  
Copyright © 2006

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