The purpose of this essay is to explain a complicated and important issue in practical terms. For those who are interested in the technicalities, the footnotes contain detailed documentation to complement and substantiate the main text. All financial data is based on figures produced by the U.S. government. Since these figures are constantly changing, for the purpose of uniformity, the year 2000 is used as a baseline.
By James D. Agresti
September 1, 2001
As of December 2000, more than a trillion dollars of the U.S. national debt is owed to the Social Security program.   This amounts to $3,600 for every man, woman, and child living in the United States.  By 2015, this figure is projected to reach $9,000 per person, burdening young people with a debt that they had no part in creating.   To make matters worse, some politicians are pushing a proposal to "save Social Security" that would increase this figure dramatically.
This essay will explain and substantiate the following points:Citizens are being misled about the national debt.
you've been told, the budget has not been balanced for the past 3 years.
Privatization would block politicians from using Social Security as a smokescreen to run up debt behind the backs of citizens.
Citizens are being misled about the national debt
More often than not, when a politician or reporter uses the term "national debt," they are not really referring to national debt. They are only referring to a portion of it. T he United States government divides the national debt into two categories: