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Each week, LA Progressive’s editors pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Mark Dempsey who commented on the article by Nancy J. Altman, "Donald Trump Is Using the Coronavirus Crisis to Attack Social Security."

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Sadly, this is what passes for informed dissent. The distinction between insurance payments and general funds really matters so little that it amounts to a distinction without a difference. People, even pundits, believe that tax revenues provision federal programs…like Social Security.

Where would the population get the dollars to pay taxes if government, the monopoly producer of dollars, didn’t spend them out into the economy first?

But where would the population get the dollars to pay taxes if government, the monopoly producer of dollars, didn’t spend them out into the economy first? Government *must* spend before it can ask for money back in taxes, otherwise no one would have the dollars to pay those taxes.

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That means government is the only fiscally unconstrained player in the economy. It does not need taxes to pay for its programs. It *does* need taxes to make the money valuable, though.

And what do we call the dollars left out in the economy after taxes are collected? Answer #1: the dollar financial assets of the population…i.e. their savings. Answer #2: National ‘debt’… Both answers describe exactly the same thing.

So could government cancel all the payroll taxes without impairing its ability to pay Social Security, Medicare, etc? Absolutely. So even the “informed opposition” buys the myth that taxes provision the government. They will also lobby to reduce national ‘debt’… A very bad idea (see here).

Boss Tweed used to say he didn’t care who people voted for as long as he could pick the candidates. I’d suggest this article testifies that his spirit lives on.