Uncle Sam’s Unfunded Promises

Here’s a surprisingly profound question: What is a promise? Dictionaries offer various definitions. I like this one: ‘An express assurance on which expectation is to be based.’

That definition captures the two-sided nature of a promise. One party offers an assurance, which the other converts into an expectation. You deposit money in your checking account, and the bank assures you that you can have it back on demand. You expect that the bank will fulfill its promise when you visit an ATM.
Governments likewise make promises, but those are different. Government is the ultimate enforcer of promises, but we have no recourse if it chooses to break them – except at the ballot box. As we’ve seen in recent weeks regarding public pensions, that’s ineffective when the promises were made long ago by officials who are no longer in office.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on OCTOBER 7, 2017.

 

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