Democrats: Social Security Has “Never Contributed A Dime” To The National Debt

That statement, technically, was true until recently.

In a hearing addressing the long term solvency of Social Security, members of a House Ways and Means subcommittee battled over whether or not reforms to Social Security will help alleviate the deficit crisis. Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., defended Social Security, saying it has played no role in the mounting federal debt.

“Social Security has never contributed a dime to the nations $14.3 trillion debt, not a penny to our federal deficit or any year of our nation’s history, yet some in this town insist that we should cut Social Security benefits for seniors to pay for these deficits, deficits run up over the last 10 years principally as a consequence of fighting two unpaid for wars and giving unpaid for tax cuts to millionaires,” Becerra said. “Most Americans would say it is immoral and un-American for this Congress to tax Peter to pay for Paul’s sins, to make retirees, widows, disabled workers and children who rely on Social Security pay for the Bush debt. How can that be right?

In years past, Social Security has run a surplus. Meaning the program collected more in revenues from working Americans than it paid out in benefits to retired Americans. The surpluses went into the Social Security trust fund to be used during a time when the program’s revenues didn’t exceed payouts.

The problem, of course, is that there was never really a trust fund. There was only ever an accounting fiction the politicians called a trust fund. In reality, the federal government used the Social Security surpluses for spending and put treasury bonds in the trust fund.

Now Social Security is in deficit, and according to the program’s actuaries will be so for the foreseeable future. So in order to keep paying out benefits, the programs administrators must dip into the trust fund. But in order to spend money from the trust fund, the US Treasury must make good on its bonds.

Given that currently the federal government is broke and running a huge budget deficit, the only way to finance the repayment of these bonds is for the Treasury to borrow money adding to the national debt.

Social Security may not have technically added to the debt in the past, but the program and its trillions in mandated but unfunded spending absolutely represents an almost unpayable fiscal burden to the country.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • robert108

    Yes, it’s “magic money” that flows out of our paychecks and into the govt coffers, and has nothing to do with how the govt is run.  Yeah.  Every cent the govt takes from the private sector needs to be justified, and has to return at least as much value as it takes from us.

    • $8194357

      And how the heck can they call SS a entitlement when it is money we already paid in? Give it to illegals and yes it becomes an entitlement, but most of us have been paying our own way in this system. They stole ‘our’ money, gave it away for political power and scold us on being greedy capitalists who want in on the entilement….I am so sick of all this….Folks are to stupid to come in out of the rain, Grandma used to say….

      • Jvette

        The government is guilty of fraud, having taken this money for years and years and used it for purposes for which it was never intended.

  • 2hotel9

    “Democrats: Social Security Has “Never Contributed A Dime” To The National Debt”  What a blatant and bald faced lie. Hey, its OK, Democrats spew lies and sh*t all the time, nothing new, here.

  • Bat One

    Democrat Javier Becerra needs a remedial course in accounting… as well as one in arithmetic.  There hasn’t been any money in the SS Trust Fund since LBJ and his Democrat pals in Congress passed “Unified Budgeting” in early 1968.  Each and every one of those special treasury bonds will have to be redeemed out of general revenue funds, adding each year’s Social Security deficit to the federal government’s already ballooning deficit.

    • $8194357

      Berni Madoff style, Bat…The ever so complicated European born and bread “Money Trust System”…
      In other words call debt money make it out of thin air and get everyone hooked on it…Change the names or meanings of a few words and do the same thing all over again…The eliets behind it have been doing it forever and will end up owning the worlds systems and structures but their souls belong to darkness not light….IMHO..The god (little g) Lucifer of “this world” gives folks the insights and knowlege as he ‘tickles their ears’ with what they want to hear and incites the mob to madness with cries of “crucify Him” “Crucify Him” and destroy those Jews from wence He came!…Ours is not an earthly kingdom who stand in his way (little h) so as he told the Marxist anti Judeo/Christians for centuries, they must all go for you to prosper….the communist “structures” used are very similar to the jihadist caliphates of old and rebranded under a new name or cause, but the author of all of it is the same….Ours is not an earthly enimy but he uses those he hooks and decieves so we end up struggling against his agendas and plans here in the flesh…Deep stuff to consider or one mans madness, but the patterns, plans and agendas all line up…Evil vs. Good by a crafty already defeated foe….Jesus said it well when He said, It is finished and to those who follow after Him,”Oh death, where is thy sting?”

  • DopeyDem

    Once again the GOP is missing an opportunity for a WTF moment. Maybe someday someone from the GOP will stand up and show this moron what a stupid talking point statement that is. Until then, which side do you think the press will report on? Headlines, “Becerra Schools GOP on Debt”.