Skip to comments.Solving Socialist Security (Saturbray)
Posted on 10/20/2012 7:09:45 AM PDT by bray
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard Work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
Nobody seems to be talking about the multi-trillion pound gorillas in the room which are entitlements and the 47% who receive gummit checks. Until America addresses the budget destroyers, Socialist Security and its two evil twins Mediscare and Medicaid there is no way to balance our budget today let alone into the future. We are putting our moms and dads at risk of going bankrupt while destroying our kids futures of an empty promise built on a Ponzi scheme which would be taking 75% of their earnings to keep it alive for another decade. Now is the time for the Baby Boomers to solve this problem for both their parents and future generations and truly become the selfless generation.
There is only one way to balance the budget and that is to lower both these behemoths by a third to half. This will never be done by the gummit since they use it to buy votes from the slaves on the program as well as the ones waiting to retire to become the Rulers subjects. You work your entire life so you can be attached to a gummit lifeline? It is time for Americans to throw away the free cheese and become truly free. Until we break our dependence on the gummit at all levels of our lives we can never solve this deficit or free ourselves from an all powerful communist dictate.
These three programs account for over thirty five percent of the total budget and that is expected to grow dramatically as the population ages. We have two answers if you dont believe in a gas chamber solution and those are to raise taxes on the remaining workers or lower the usage. The most effective method would be to voluntarily not take the benefits and decide to work the rest of your life and leave your benefits unclaimed for those who cant survive without them. We have to change our mentality from working our entire lives to retire and switch that to trying to work until death. There is a certain satisfaction to working til you build your own coffin and then crawl in at the end of the day.
Men who work well into their sixties and seventies have more reward and are in generally better health than those who are retired and lead a sedentary life. They are also more financially secure since they are in the primes of their earnings career. This is the time they can become entrepreneurs which can make them more financially successful so they can leave more to their dependents and family they have left behind. As for curing the program they would be paying into it rather than drawing out making a larger group of contributors as well as a lower number of payees to finally begin to stop the bleeding.
When we are borrowing from our children 40% of the nearly 4 Trillion dollars in the budget and we have a program that uses 35% of it we can never be serious about balancing it. Both parties have solutions on how to get more people off the program and ours should be by voluntarily leaving it. Yes, most have contributed an average of fifty thousand dollars into it however it is just like any other bad investment, sometimes you lose it. Yes it is guaranteed by the Federal gummit but so were the GM bonds and those flew out the window when Obama changed the bankruptcy laws. The Repubs will be proposing lowering the benefit by delaying retirement or making it means tested but will likely end up with far less than is required to solve this problem. Means testing is the least fair since they contributed the most and then receive the least.
The Dems already have the solution written into Deathcare. They are going to let people die earlier than they are now since they are subjects of the state. In addition to denying life saving treatments they will lower doctors wages which will force the best ones out of the profession and make it less attractive to new doctors. This will lower the overall care if you can get it making your chances of survival less and costing the gummit far less in two programs. This is the Deathcare option for solving Communist Security.
There is a realistic alternative. Those on the program have already been forced into it and have really no options other than going back into the job market if possible. If they still have marketable skills use them to free themselves from this subjugation. If you have managed your money in the past and have a solid nest egg then it is time to get off the program and enjoy the fruits of your labor and tell them to keep their Ponzi scheme. The fact is your dollars have been lost and they are borrowing from your kids to pay you and that is their real inheritance. Dropping off is the best gift you can give them and if millions would do it they would have to eliminate thousands of make-work jobs.
If half the people would drop off these programs the outlay would be lowered by around 15-20% and the revenues would go up 5-10% putting the budget in balance. By eliminating another 30% of speckled snail darter studies as well as getting rid of half the anti-business administrations you could have the debt chewed up by the end of our generation. This would leave our kids a gift of both a smaller more efficient gummit and a vibrant economy that if they carried our programs forward would sustain for generations to come. There are far better more efficient ways to live your later years than on a small check from Uncle Sam watching TV and waiting to die. This would turn our selfish generation into the most selfless in histoir.
Working and producing people are both healthier and stronger giving them a sense of purpose. This may be harder and leaving those thousands in the system is a tough decision but in the end you will make more by working and taking care of yourself. It is time to take care of our budget and pass down something of real and lasting value. It is time to sacrifice for this great country as well as rebuild it so it can be the envy of the world once again. There is only one way to do it and that is sacrificing like no generation has ever sacrificed before.
This is our D-day against the debt. The point is, once we conquer this enemy there is a satisfaction and freedom nobody in history has ever enjoyed. We can finish taking care of the Greatest Generation as a thanks and set an example for future generations who can enjoy better lives. There is freedom waiting for America which is in our reach if we have the courage and strength to conquer it. This is our challenge to break the chains of the retirement plantation and become truly free men.
Pray for America
"I ain't got a dime, but what I've got is mine ... I ain't rich -- but Lord, I'm free." --- George Strait, "Amarillo By Morning"
There is poor financially and poor spiritually. We are making ourselves poor spiritually.
Pray for America
bray: It is patently obvious you DO NOT understand the workings of Social Security. It is NOT a hand out like AFDC or FI or Medicaid. Rather, it is a repayment of taxes that were involuntarily taken from us our entire working lives.
I agree it needs to be reformed. Personally, I would like to see it privatized using a government-defined list of investments that could be made.
I have marketable skills as I do software development in JAVA, C++ and C; for 30 years. To the layman it sounds like an easy job sitting at a computer, doesn't it? Well it's not easy and I can't see me doing this until I am 70. For me it's too stressful. I've had manual labor jobs and those are less stressful believe it or not. I'd like to hear from some in there 60's doing hardcore development, and what its like. Maybe it isn't so bad....
Believe it or not some people have hard stressful jobs unlike journalists, pols and those in management. Not everyone can work until they are 70. I love it when a journalist tell me to just keep working.....
SS is nothing more than another tax. You no more have a claim to it than you have a claim to repayment of your federal income tax liabilities you’ve paid over the years. If it wasn’t just a tax, it wouldn’t be constitutional.
Actually, you do not understand how SS functions. It is a pay as you go system. i.e., today's workers pay for today's retirees. SS has been running in the red since 2010 and will continue to do so unless reformed. The shortfall is made up by cashing in the IOUs in the SSTF, which means that it must come from the General Fund where 40 cents of every federal dollar spent is borrowed. The vast majority of people on SS now have received more in benefits than they ever paid into the system.
Source: CBO "Combined OASDI Trust Funds; January 2011 Baseline" 26 Jan 2011. Note: See "Primary Surplus" line (which is negative, indicating a deficit)
Matters are even worse than this chart shows. In December, Congress passed a Social Security tax reduction. Workers are temporarily paying 2 percentage points less, from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, in Social Security payroll taxes this calendar year. Since the government is making up the shortfall out of general revenues, CBOs deficit projections for the trust funds do not include that. But CBOs figures predict that the "payroll tax holiday" will cost the governments general fund $85 billion in this fiscal year and $29 billion in fiscal year 2012 (which starts Oct.1, 2011.) Since every dollar of that will have to be borrowed, the combined effect of the " tax holiday" and the annual deficits will amount to a $130 billion addition to the federal deficit in the current fiscal year, and $59 billion in fiscal 2012.
Social Security has passed a tipping point. For years it generated more revenue than it consumed, holding down the overall federal deficit and allowing Congress to spend more freely for other things. But those days are gone. Rather than lessening the federal deficit, Social Security has at last as long predicted become a drag on the governments overall finances.
Medicare is in even worse shape. In January of this year, C. Eugene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane of the Urban Institute published an update to their earlier work "Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Benefits over a Lifetime." The chart below illustrates their findings and shows the huge discrepancy between lifetime Medicare taxes paid and Medicare benefits received.
This graph shows that the average man and woman (average defined in the study as average income over their working lives and living to the average life expectancy) who start receiving benefits in 2010 get over 3 times more in benefits than they pay in to the system! Of importance, the study accounts for inflation by calculating all past taxes and future payments in 2010 dollars to provide an accurate comparison.
If the notion that Medicare recipients are simply "getting back what they paid in" is false then where is the money coming from? Simply, the excess received is being borrowed from younger generations and the cost is more than we can bear.
Medicare Part A has been running in the red since 2008. And by law the General Fund pays for 75% of the costs for Medicare Parts B and D. The premiums collected only pay for 25% of the costs. In FY 2011 the General Fund paid $222 billion to fund Medicare Parts B and D.
When someone willingly buys into a private Ponzi Scheme and it collapses, I have no sympathy for them. When someone has their earnings confiscated against their will, forcing them into the federal government’s Ponzi Scheme, I believe it is fully acceptable for them to try to get some of it back.
Non-defense spending must be cut.
Cutting outflows from SS and MC will only allow politicians to CONTINUE to spend on non-defense spending, since they will have to kick in less to fund the deficits starting in the OASDI trust funds.
The OASDI trust funds were supposed to be separate; separate contributions (check your paystub) and separate payments from Federal spending
SS and MC are benefits plans, not government spending.
Congress has always been in a mode of automatically diverting SS and MC surpluses to Federal spending from the inception of the programs.
How ? By requiring that surplus cash be “invested” in Treasury bonds. They then spent the cash the Treasury received for the bonds.
We’re getting to the point where there are no more annual surpluses, but OASDI fund deficits.
That is why Congress is trying to “combine” everything and get rid of the idea that they are a separate benefits plan - to avoid having to REDEEM Treasury bonds held by the fund and not simultaneously sell OASDI more bonds (rolling over the debt). Redeeming without rollover is the start of actually using the $2.5 trillion in Treasury bonds the OASDI trust fund “invested” in to actually pay out benefits. Congress HATES the idea of having to pay out the $2.5 trillion it borrowed from AMERICAN SENIOR CITIZENS over the course of their working lives.
My answer is always the same - decrease government spending.
Welfare-type programs for working age, able-bodied people are running in the hundreds of billions. They need to be eliminated or Congress will continue to increase them. And they are devestating on the economy for purposes of squeezing consumers who generate their own income in the private sector with higher prices (inflation). Think about it - all that money must come from taxpayers to pay welfare. But the money is taxed - the taxpayer is not “buying” anything for themselves. You don’t get houses, clothes or cars in exchange for taxes paid if you are a working taxpayer. But the inflation key is on the output side: people who are not working do not produce any goods or services. If they did, there would be a much greater supply of them, but they didn’t, so consumer dollars wind up bidding up the prices on goods and services that are more scarce because less is produced. This is why command economies (communism, socialism, statism, etc.) result in scarcity and therefore poor and hungry citizens, since those economies do not generate robust production of goods and services.
File under things your economics professor never told you.
I guess in your eagerness to post your blather and fancy chart you missed the part of my post where I agreed Social Security needs to be reformed. Severely and soon.
Well yes, but its also a redistribution of wealth from those working to those not working. The money was taken from you involuntarily but instead of invested and put away as your capital. (Note there was a Supreme Court ruling that said you have NO PROPERTY RIGHT IN THIS MONEY!) Your money was quickly rushed out the door and given to the current generation of retirees. A “IOU” of sorts was put there instead of your cash. As long as there was a large number of contributors and a much smaller number of recipients. (Can anyone say Ponzi!) Also mortality and working demographics had to remain close to same as it was when the system was set up. Insurance executives testifying to Congress during the sessions of whether to or whether to not set up Social Security warned this was a false assumption! Remember Ida May Fuller (September 6, 1874 January 31, 1975)the first American to receive a monthly benefit Social Security check. She received the check, amounting to $22.54, on January 31, 1940. By the time of her death, Fuller had collected $22,888.92 total from Social Security in monthly benefits, compared to her contributions of $24.75 to the system.
There have been a lot of Ida Mae Fuller's taking more out of the system then put in! Roughly anyone who lives 7 years (maybe less!) past the age of retirement is a net drain on the system. (Also Congress has increased the number of recipients over and above the original plan!) The system was supposed to have been inspired by the one set up by Bismark in old Imperial Germany. Does anyone out there know is there is any similarities? Has the German system changed? They lost two world wars, went through at least 2 financial disasters, and had 3 different forms of government (maybe 4 if you county the late unlamented East Germany!) and it looks like the "German system" still functions.
Roughly? Very roughly. I've paid the maximum into SS for as long as I can remember. Last count I got from SS was that my employer and I paid in over $200K. You think I'd get that back in 7 years?
Until America addresses the budget destroyers, Socialist Security and its two evil twins Mediscare and Medicaid there is no way to balance our budget today let alone into the future.That's why we've passed Obamacare, duh!
The 7 years figure I saw in a libertarian pub during the Carter years, I am sure it’s an average which may be based also on the rate of inflation (which was bad during then!) subtracting value from the money taken. I made an assumption that it might be less then 7 years now because these kind of things never get better!
Do you deny the statement that social security money taken would be better off privately invested and you would be better off financially then the the present system?
The fact is that the taxes you pay into this scheme don't belong to you. SCOTUS made that quite clear in Flemming vs. Nestor. You could pay into the system for 50 years, die before you were eligible for benefits, and your estate would not receive any assets except for a small burial allowance.
The point of the "blather and fancy charts" is to dismiss widely held views that somehow the entitlement programs are not welfare. In fact, they are in terms of benefits received and the way they are calculated. They are unsustainable and will consume the entire federal budget if not reformed. We can't afford them.
No, I’d be more than happy for them to give me my $100K back (and give my employer back his $100K) and we part ways.
It is a corrupt system that allows minimal contributors to receive far more than they’ve paid in. It allows naturalized citizens’ parents to qualify (working only 10 years, usually in a family business paying minimum wage on the books and then more cash under the table)....we are inundated with immigrant anchor relatives sucking the blood out of it. We are inundated with cheaters and users. I’d just soon as see it abolished alltogether myself.
I am still curious about the Bismarkian system vs ours.
Non-defense and defense spending are not the major drivers of our debt. The entitlement/welfare programs are the problem fueled by the retirement of the baby boomer cohort. 10,000 people are retiring every day and will continue to do so for the next 20 years. By 2030 one in five residents of this country will be 65 or older--twice what is now. And by 2030 there will be just 2 workers for every retiree down from the current 3.3 and the 16 workers for every retiree in 1950.
The OASDI trust funds were supposed to be separate; separate contributions (check your paystub) and separate payments from Federal spending
They still are held separately. The SS Trust Fund has operated the same way since SS started.
That is why Congress is trying to combine everything and get rid of the idea that they are a separate benefits plan - to avoid having to REDEEM Treasury bonds held by the fund and not simultaneously sell OASDI more bonds (rolling over the debt). Redeeming without rollover is the start of actually using the $2.5 trillion in Treasury bonds the OASDI trust fund invested in to actually pay out benefits. Congress HATES the idea of having to pay out the $2.5 trillion it borrowed from AMERICAN SENIOR CITIZENS over the course of their working lives.
They are being redeemed now since SS went into the red in 2010 and Medicare Part A in 2008.
SS and MC are benefits plans, not government spending.
Not true. By law, 75% of Medicare Parts B and D (SMI) are funded by the General Fund.
I don’t expect to get the amount I and my employer paid in. I’ll be dead before that.
Median benefit $30,000 per year
Yes Gaffer, it is likely you will have gotten everything back in seven years. And don’t start talking about interest, because the money was never invested.
I had enough good fortune and foresight to arrange my finances so that I won’t need Social Security when I turn 67. I plan on funding prepaid life insurance (which pays dividends and can be borrowed against tax free) for my grandchildren using my SS benefits as a way of helping them avoid reliance on SS in their golden years and giving them at least some benefit out of all the taxes they will be paying to support our generation.
No, it is not. But it doesn’t bother me financially because I also had a separate retirement planned that compensates for the bad SS deal.
I have both a federal pension and SS. At age 69 I have already received ten times what I contributed to my federal pension or five times more than both my contribution and the government’s. I receive a minimal SS pension and have already received about 5 times my contribution. Between the two, I get about 120K a year and both are linked to COLA. As much as I enjoy the benefits, I know that this is unsustainable for the country.
I am self employed and work 10-12 hours a day as a lumber wholesaler and dream maker. Calling someone a journalist is hitting below the belt.
Pray for America
It also happens to be a fact. When you eliminate defense and entitlement/welfare spending (that are on automatic pilot), and debt servicing costs so called discretionary spending used to run the rest of the government is only 17% of the budget. Entitlements are the fastest growing part of the budget.
So they're held separately ? I completely agree in the technical sense. But then let's look at 2 pie charts. One for these "separate" programs, and one for everything else. The mere fact that the gubmint and other concerned institutions have now lumped all into one pie chart is the beginning of mind games that teenagers play to justify things. Obviously, it's presented as one pie chart so voila - it looks like more than half of our "spending problem" is SS/Med. The Social Security Trust Fund was created in 1939 as part of the Amendments enacted in that year. From its inception, the Trust Fund has always worked the same way. The Social Security Trust Fund has never been "put into the general fund of the government." Funny, I never saw pie charts like this until a few years ago. The argument was never made this way as long as the OASDI trust funds had annual surpluses. As the tipping point approached, gubmint started the vulcan mind-meld mental games to convince people that they had to make do with smaller SS checks and they had to work longer before starting to collect.
SS went into the red in the early 1980s, which prompted the Faustian bargain that Reagan made with Tip O'Neill in 1983 that increased the retirement age for full benefits from 65 to 67, and levied taxes on SS earnings. It also forced all new federal hires into SS. The fact is that SS is actuarily unsustainable. It is a Ponzi scheme.
Government old-age benefit programs are an inducement to not save and not invest adequately, so they are a cruel lie.
SS was never meant to be a full retirement system although one-third of the current recipients have SS as their only income. I don't view them as a lie. If people are too dumb to save and prepare themselves for retirement, the responsibility falls upon them not the government. The problem is that the very people who did not save believe that the government should provide them with a comfortable retirement. And the Dems agree with them.
Yes, that's why Congress is so focused on "fixing" them by cutting outlays. If they do that, they can stop redeeming. They can go back to spending every dollar of tax revenue and borrowing,
You really can't cut outlays because there are 10,000 people retiring every day for the next 20 years. By 2030 one in 5 will be 65 or older--twice what it is now. Right now, the objective is to change the cost trajectory so it stops going up so fast and eventually will head back down once the baby boomers go through the system. Obamacare wants to control costs thru the IPAB, Ryan wants to do it thru premium support and competition with the patient having the funding and making the decisions. There will also be some means testing in terms of how much support the government will provide.
The fact is Congress has gotten the taxpayer way in over their head financially. Congress critters have always been told by their smarter, older peers that the economy eventually picks up and grows so borrowing is acceptable.
LOL. I blame the voters. The politicians give the voters exactly what they want. You get the government you deserve. Voters will vote out of office people who tell them the truth. We have a dumbed down electorate that is ill-informed and unengaged.
The showdown between those who receive money from the government is obviously what is looming in the not-too-distant future, unless the economy takes off so much that we miraculously have $3 to $4 trillion in tax revenue floating in every year. If not, the "Greek zone" is what we're flirting with.
$3 or $4 trillion won't be enough to sustain the current programs with the same benefits. They will consume every federal dollar. They must be reformed to reduce future liability. By 2030 there will be 2 workers for every retiree. You won't be able to tax enough to cover the costs. And with a $16 trillion national debt and growing, the debt servicing costs will continue to rise. The interest rates have been held to an artificially low rate by the Fed. If they return to historic rates, we will be looking at debt servicing costs approaching a trillion dollars a year. And then we will be Greece.
I'm not talking about funding, but the purpose of the spending. What is the purpose of MC if not a benefit to MC recipients ? Otherwise it would just be a payment to the healthcare industry for no purpose.
I don't understand your point.
Great posts and thread. Thanks for the information, kabar.
The greatest fraud ever FORCED on “free” people. It is built on the backs of DEAD Americans. Scheming socialists. Plunder and death...socialism 2.0.
“Socialism Is Legal Plunder” - Bastiat 1801-1850
DEFUND their collectives.
DISMANTLE their schemes.
DEPOPULATE them from the body politic.
Progressive plunderers and tyrannical totalitarians have placed many mandates on our existence, our time of life, our labor. We, our children and grandchildren, have become debt slaves to those organizations of sophisticated socialists.
live - “free” - republic
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
DEFUND, DISMANTLE, DEPOPULATE.
You nailed it Gault! We need to free ourselves from the overseers of the ruling class.
Pray for America
Managing that with SS also withdrawn from your paycheck all those years is a bit of an accomplishment, actually. I've managed it, although it wasn't always easy. Now two years away from retirement.
What I hear here is that I should be "selfless" and heroic and call that bad debt bad for the benefit of my successors, so they won't be screwed the same way. OK, fine. I'll be able to afford to do that...
IF my successors will keep their greasy fingers away from the money I have managed to save, in terms of taxation, increasing demands for school levies, benefits for THEIR children, and a general attitude on the part of the government that they elected that my 401K is convertible to government bonds for - wait for it - for the sake of my successors. I'm not starving in the prospect that later generations will think me a swell guy, because they won't.
That isn't speculation, it's a fact. You read repeatedly on the mind-numbingly regular boomer-bashing threads that *I* voted for this Ponzi scheme. And you know, I've never missed an election in forty-odd years but I don't recall ever making any such vote. That isn't how it worked.
So I'll offer a deal with my boomer-bashing FR compatriots - I'll forgo any demands on money I really did contribute if you'll keep *your* Democratic administration's hands off the savings I've managed to accumulate. And if you don't like me tagging you with responsibility for electing this travesty of a confiscatory administration, don't accuse me of voting for the SS scam. Deal?
Nice rant but have no idea what you are talking about? I will guarantee you one thing, those who want to be offended will be.
Let's try again. You are perfectly free to ask me to break the cycle by depending only on my savings, which you did here.
Now is the time for the Baby Boomers to solve this problem for both their parents and future generations and truly become the selfless generation.
The most effective method would be to voluntarily not take the benefits and decide to work the rest of your life and leave your benefits unclaimed...
Ayn Rand had a term for those insisting that other people be altruistic, and it wasn't a polite one. Nevertheless, I'm willing to go along because as you pointed out, the numbers really don't give us much choice. That would be here:
When we are borrowing from our children 40% of the nearly 4 Trillion dollars in the budget and we have a program that uses 35% of it we can never be serious about balancing it.
I quite concur. Nevertheless, this really needs a second look:
Men who work well into their sixties and seventies have more reward and are in generally better health than those who are retired and lead a sedentary life. They are also more financially secure since they are in the primes of their earnings career. This is the time they can become entrepreneurs which can make them more financially successful so they can leave more to their dependents and family they have left behind.
Work is good for me, got it, unless of course it kills me, which it could. I'm not actually in the "prime" of my earnings career because other, younger people are being hired into the same job and paid more. That's a fact of life when you're 60. Now, I really love this one - it's simple, really, I just become an entrepreneur and get rich. Why didn't I think of that? There is, of course, the matter of venture capital and I have just decreased my future income prospects by eschewing SS, but no matter, it's easy! Well, no. Here's a hard fact of economic life: most entrepreneurs go broke.
I think it boils down to this, and pardon me if I didn't express it clearly: asking other people to make a sacrifice for the benefit of others should not be treated this cavalierly. My point is that those others don't seem to be particularly eager to make any sacrifices for me. That's fine, and I can accept the fact that my loss is probably going to be less than asking my successors to contribute 40, 50, 60% of their salaries to prolong the game. But they have to play their part by acknowledging that this is a sacrifice and not making it any more difficult than it already will be. That means not building another Ponzi scheme of ever-increasing entitlements. I'll be a lot happier about the whole thing if I see that happen, but it isn't, and I'm not.
Of course I understand which is why I posted it in the first place. This is the biggest sacred cow in America and unless we gore it nothing else is touchable either.
You replace it with personal savings accounts or some other free market solution.
The bottomline is that you have two options or a combination of them. Reduce benefits and raise revenues.
I'm simply saying that SS is already too small to live on - I mean really, how low would the government like to go ? I can make it actuarily very profitable easily: just make the retirement age 95. Or perhaps make the maximum monthly retirement benefit $100.
SS is not meant to live on. The question is how much are people willing to pay to get higher benefits?
If we stopped paying ALL SS / MC payments, completely ended the programs, but left the withholding in place, the first year would produce a bit of a surplus based on current total Federal Revenue; perhaps $100 billion or so, give or take.
Check out my pie charts in post #22. The revenue raised by the payroll tax in FY2010 was $865 billion. The amount of SS expenditures was $707 billion. According to the Trustees Report Medicare expenditures are about $550 billion. So we spend $1.2 trillion and take in $865 billion.
Both bear responsibility, the government and the non-savers. The non-savers will pay a dear price for being misled into relying on the government. The government, however, can not avoid it's own share of the blame by pretending that it had nothing to do with the program, any more than Bernie Madoff can place all the blame on his investors for being so stupid.
The government is us, We the People. We elect and pay for the government. We are responsible, not the so-called leaders who we vote in office over and over again. It is our job to hold them accountable. Have a good day.