Try wrapping your brain around this bit of MMT.
Now this may shock you, because nearly everyone believes a dollar bill is a dollar. But it isn’t. It’s just evidence you own a dollar. A dollar bill is a title to a dollar.
If you own a house, the evidence you own it is a paper called a “title.” But, the paper is not the house. A dollar bill is not a dollar; it is just worth a dollar.
Every day, the US Government Printing Office takes thousands of blank sheets of paper and prints them into sheets and sheets of dollar bills. Are they dollars? No, they are just worthless paper, like the paper your bank gave you.
The printing office sends these worthless dollar bills to banks, to give to people as evidence these people own dollars. But let’s say, on the way to a bank, the truck carrying the dollar bills crashes, and 10 million dollar bills burn up. Has the government lost 10 million dollars? No, because dollar bills are not dollars.
This is important because people often talk about the federal government “printing” money. But though the government prints dollar bills, it cannot print money. No one can print something that does not physically exist.
And this is important, because it helps you see that dollars are nothing more than accounting balances. Dollars can’t be seen, touched, smelled or tasted. They can’t be stored or shipped.
And all this is important, because it shows why the federal government has the unlimited ability to create dollars and never, never, ever can run short of dollars, if it doesn’t wish to. To create dollars, all the government does is mark up numbers in checking accounts.
And it’s really, really important, because it shows why Social Security and Medicare never can run out of dollars, no matter what benefits they pay and what taxes they collect.