Fresh data just released by the trustees of the Social Security Administration show that the number of people receiving benefits from the Disability Insurance Trust Fund has exploded over the last five years, reducing the surplus in that fund from $216 billion in 2008 to just over $100 billion in 2013. There were 7.4 million recipients in January 2009, but as of October 2013, there are nearly nine million beneficiaries, not including another two million spouses and children of disabled workers who are also receiving benefits.

Simple math illustrates the inevitable: If those receiving benefits for disability (real or faked) continues to increase, the trust fund will be bankrupt in less than three years. This is small potatoes when compared to the Medicare and Social Security programs, but illustrates the inevitability of the ending of all Ponzi schemes, large or small.

When Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) claimed on October 20 that “We have $128 trillion worth of unfunded liabilities … and another $17 trillion worth of debt,” Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post preferred to question the amount rather than the imminent failure of these schemes. He claimed that the real number was perhaps closer to $43 trillion, using numbers from the Social Security trustee themselves, or suggested that perhaps the real number was $84 trillion, relying on the National Center for Policy Analysis for that one.

Kessler finally concluded that, without mentioning the imminent implosion occurring at the Disability Trust Fund, the real number to be concerned about was only $30 trillion — equal to the entire economic output of the United States for two years. He did, however, manage to say that whatever number is correct, that it didn’t really matter anyway:

After all, most of these unfunded liabilities are … benefits that this generation’s children and grandchildren will be receiving, and presumably the generation 100 years from now will be able to figure out the best course for their society in their time.

This is what passes for economic wisdom in the present time: It’s a restatement of the hoary quip: “IBD/YBD” – by that time “I’ll be dead and you’ll be dead.”

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