A sinking fund is a type of trust with a fixed maximum level and can only be withdrawn once that maximum amount is reached. Funds may be earmarked for specific purposes, such as education and home ownership, rather than simply being available to spend at the holder’s discretion. The sixties brought significant change in the world, with rock ‘n roll music, hippies, love-ins, and social unrest over the Vietnam War. President Lyndon B Johnson created his “war on poverty ” in response to this unrest. To be sure, it wasn’t the war on poverty; it was a war on the poor—the poor and the non-white, who naturally were targeted for exclusion from social security benefits. LBJ’s program encouraged his constituents to open up their “sinking funds” for donations to those wars. It was a clever idea because these funds represented nest eggs that people could deposit in a bank (thus reducing demand for money and saving interest) while still being able to withdraw the same amount in case they needed it. Even better than this idea was that they could contribute to all sorts of educational causes, as well as home loans and other things that would benefit others but not themselves.
It’s all about priorities. Is this a time for tax breaks for the rich or those less fortunate and deserving? Is this a time to ensure that not only children go to college but also students who are willing and able to help others get into college too? Some say, “well, they should just get a job rather than blow their education money on drugs.” But what if they need money to survive on their own? The government is supposed to provide aid through social security, designed specifically for those unable to support themselves. If a person gets old and can no longer work, then they would be entitled by law (at least in theory) to draw money from their social security benefits. But because of mismanagement by the profit-oriented privatized companies that manage social security funds and the government, which has failed to collect on back payments, many older Americans have nothing to retire on. In other words, they work all their lives to contribute to social security, but when they reach retirement age, they don’t get enough money to live on. It is primarily a problem with African-Americans who are leery of putting too much into a sinking fund (rather than buying a house or something else). The government’s answer is “go into debt.” Their “solution” is for seniors to take out home equity loans to pay for the essentials of life.
Ultimately the choice is up to the individual, but it’s a question of priorities. There is already plenty of money to pay for the programs that help children and others in need. The problem is that those in charge are greedy, selfish, and shortsighted. They want to give tax cuts to the rich and put us all into debt so that we will use our future taxes to pay off those debts instead of producing schools, jobs, housing, and other services essential for a safe, healthy society.