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This graphic comes from the Chicago Tribune. The "pink" debt could not be sold by the government to public investors without driving interest rates to punishing levels. Instead, it was swapped for funds held in trust for the citizenry--primarily Medicare and Social Security, which have been funded over the years by employers and employees for future benefits. The government has essentially absconded with these citizen contributions and can only replace the missing money by (you guessed it) taxing citizens. Heads we lose, tails we lose again.