Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Full Faith and Credit of the United States

President Bush visited the Treasury Department facility that holds the bonds for the Social Security system to give us his assessment of the federal government's financial strength:
"A lot of people in America think there is a trust -- that we take your money in payroll taxes and then we hold it for you and then when you retire, we give it back to you," Bush said later in a speech at the University of West Virginia at Parkersburg. "But that's not the way it works. There is no trust fund, just IOUs that I saw firsthand," Bush said.
Democratic leaders responded quickly:
In a letter to Bush, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said the president's statements about the trust fund "could raise needless doubts among American and foreign investors about the United States' willingness to meet its fiscal obligations. This has potentially broad ranging and damaging implications for our economy." At issue are the special-issue Treasury bonds - now totaling around $1.7 trillion - that make up the trust fund.

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