Entitlement Myths

Social Security was created to protect elderly people. But what if it's just a handout to their kids?

Illustration by David Gothard for TIME

The Peter G. Peterson foundation, a new and welcome arrival on the national scold scene, announced in a December press release that the U.S. is bankrupt. Not the government but the whole country and everyone in it. As of Sept. 30, the PGP folks reported (using figures from the Federal Reserve), the value of everybody's assets was $56.5 trillion. The value of our liabilities (public and private) was $56.4 trillion. Given what has happened to real estate and the stock market since Sept. 30, it seems certain that we now owe more than we are worth.

It seems certain, that is,...

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