Harry Reid: Social Security Has Not Added “One Penny” To The National Debt In 75 Years

That’s not an accurate statement:

Washington (CNSNews.com) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday disputed warnings that Social Security is headed for bankruptcy, calling those assertions an “outright lie.” And he says the huge federal entitlement program has not added “one penny” to the federal deficit.
Both of Reid’s claims are misleading.

Reid made the comments at a “Back Off Social Security” rally at the Capitol on Monday. Reid was joined by other Senate Democrats and liberal activists, who accuse Republicans of plotting to privatize Social Security. Democrats have used similar tactics in the past to scare senior citizens, who vote in large numbers.

“Social Security has not contributed one penny to the debt or the deficit ever in its 75 years,” Reid said at Monday’s event.

Here’s the problem with Reid’s statement: For years Social Security had surpluses in revenues, meaning the program collected more in taxes then were needed to pay out in benefits, and those surpluses were put into the program’s trust fund. But right now, Social Security is running a deficit. It has more benefit obligations to pay out than it is collecting in revenues, so the program is falling back on its trust fund.

So no sweat, right?

The problem is that Congress has been borrowing money from the trust fund for decades and replacing the funds with US Treasury Bonds. Now that Social Security needs to rely on its trust fund, the US Treasury must pay back those bonds. And the only way for the Treasury to make good on those bonds is to borrow money and add to the national debt.

Because, I don’t think I need to remind you folks, the federal government has a $1.6 trillion budget deficit and a nearly $15 trillion national debt.

Reid, who despite appearances and demeanors isn’t a dullard, knows this. Which means he’s flat-out lying.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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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