Bankrupt Critique


So, Bush got heckled during the speech, and then critiqued on the CNN after-commentary by Sen. Feinstein (and probably a couple other talking heads I didn't see) for using the term "bankrupt" to describe Social Security in 2042. But I'm not clear exactly why that is wrong. We all realize that people who declare bankruptcy are not totally out of money, right? Their debts just exceed their holdings. Which (even if you count the trust fund as a real asset) would be true of Social Security. It could still (assuming no reform) pay 70 percent of scheduled benefits, but isn't that consistent with the more familiar sort of bankruptcy? In other words, the bankrupt person's assets get divvied up, and they get to keep working and eating even if they can't fully discharge the debts. Now, "bankrupt" has a stronger connotation than "unable to pay all benefits," and maybe the intention was to mislead somehow. But, at least technically, isn't it an admissible description?