“…It’s sort of like saying, well, I have a mortgage this month, but I’m out of beer money, so I’m gonna take my mortgage money and I’m gonna go out and buy beer. And when I don’t have my mortgage money at the end of the month–or Social Security in this case–I’ll just borrow it from somebody, and then I’ll pay them 9% interest.”
In the mandatory spending section of the United States federal budget, fiscal hawks are quick to point out Medicare and Social Security together represent the two largest spending programs on budget by far. In 2014, Social Security alone comprised 35.6% of all mandatory spending (it’s around 37% now).
In these politicians’ minds, if you put the sum of our country’s debt on one side and the highest ticket items in our budget on the other, you don’t have to stare at the figures too long to figure out where the debt is coming from–and where serious cuts should be made.
…Wait a second.
Hasn’t Social Security been legally off-budget since 1990? Social Security can’t contribute to the national debt–by law. See Section 13301 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.
And for another thing, how can a program that’s fully self-funded contribute to the debt? Where is this 24% drain on our budget even coming from?
As this YouTuber explains, it’s all nothing more than creative accounting and deceptive narration on the part of those “borrowing” and spending that money.
In reality, that 24% is very real and very much on-budget–but that isn’t debt caused by Social Security itself.
That’s the money owed to the Trust Fund after Congress borrowed it for discretionary “beer money.”