Seniors speak out: did the government really borrow $2.85 trillion from Social Security?

We asked our supporters what they thought about the nearly $3 trillion in Social Security surplus funds that the government has used for general spending.

Not surprisingly, they had quite a LOT to say.

This is an old problem… LBJ started it to pay for his Asian war in the ‘60s.  Since then Congress has always borrowed ‘the surplus funds’…

Mike B.

Who holds these tyrants accountable?  We as people are responsible. Generations ahead of me have bent the knee for too long.  This nation is beyond repair. Maybe when folks grow a set and stand up. Quit running to the poles electing new-found garbage as means of change.

Travis M.

Each and every member should be held accountable for the reimbursement to the people that this money truly belongs to, even at the forfeiture of their salaries.

Steve C.

Every cent they stole (borrowed?) needs to be paid back with interest.  Republicans have no right to reduce our SS. There is plenty of money for the payments if they would stop raiding this account.  It’s not the government’s money. It is ours.

Camille P.

I don’t know.  I heard yes, they did.  After all the added charges and more money taken out of my Social Security, I am happy to say I’ve got 3 cents more a month than I had last year! Woo-hoo, don’t want to spend it all in one place. Really?!

Mary J.

Thing is, they need legislation to be able to compartmentalize specific accounts. That would help. And if something is left too long or becomes not needed, there must be provisions for oversight and joint parts of government to come into that potential issue and debate.

Sue B.

I don’t think any of us knows for sure how much they took, but I believe this to be true and the government should pay it back.

Betty D.

If this is true, they should pay it back with interest and whoever did this needs to be voted out.

Carol K.

At least that much.  If they hadn’t [spent the money in the Trust Fund], the elderly could get twice what they are now.

Robert M.

If they did, the money must be returned to Social Security.

Lilyan D.

This law should have been in effect from day one. It should be paid back with interest.

Yvonne P.

Yes, they did. No vote, no shame–they just appropriated it.  Pay it back with interest now!

Watson M.

That lockbox sounds pretty good right about now.

Vicki L.

They have been borrowing since the seventies.

Darryl D.

Doesn’t matter–what matters is are they giving it back?  That’s the key.

Tom P.

I understand they did it more than once.

Jeraldine S.

Yes, and they need to put it BACK.

Linda M.

Yes, they did.  I believe it was during Ronald Reagan years.

Coy B.

Yes, they did (BORROW) that much.  That means they are supposed to pay it back.

Judy H.

Don’t ever look for that money to make its way back into the Social Security fund.

Andy T.

Probably…but no one will ever tell us the truth.

Susannah F.

It is not their fund to borrow from!

Peg S.

I certainly hope not as those are funds we paid for our retirement.  Time for my President to step in and protect our funds and rights.  It is the only cash flow left in our illustrious government.

Betty G.

That’s money that’s taken from us and if it was still there would give us all a higher return and return our full benefits back to the age of 65

Lee M.

They need to keep their hands off of money that does not belong to them.  That is our money we put there only for the people that put it there.

Randy F.

There IS NO SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND.  Social Security contributions have been going to the General Fund (otherwise known as the Congressional Slush Fund) for decades.

Raoul S.

I am only 71 years old, but for some reason I was thinking they took the money when LBJ was in office with a promise to pay it back.

Paul A.

The money is invested in special T-bills that are earmarked for Social Security.  When they are needed, they are/will be redeemed.  By the way, T-bills are the safest investment in the world.

Ron H.

Of course, they did…our account (Social Security) is direct from the taxpayers and goes into that fund monthly.

Margie G.

Keep your hands off our Social Security.

Ginger E.

Put it back and take the steps necessary to protect it.

Betty B.

Yes, they have, and we want our money back and in our pockets.  Not Ryan’s and Mitch’s pockets.

Liz A.

Tell them to keep their hands out of our pockets

Etta P.

They have no business dipping into Social Security.

Craig B.

Both sides of the aisle have been dipping into it for years.  It’s their own private piggy bank.

Ray K.

Then why isn’t that money back in Social Security?

David L.

Stop using the Social Security funds.

Artemio A.

How long ago did this happen and who authorized it?

Michele S.

That is, they borrowed from ‘future’ funds.  They emptied Social Security decades ago.  Get real.

Michael M.

This has been going on for years!

Cooter H.

Should have been long ago.

Harry S.

I’m afraid it is really true.  Lyndon Johnson was president then, so it falls on him!

Roberta H.

Dang straight, skippy.  They are all thinking they are professional thieves and can’t be prosecuted as long as they’re making the laws.

Gary L.

No wonder they are always threatening seniors that Social Security is nearly bankrupt.

Denise M.

Of course, they steal all the time and never ask us.  We who put our hard-earned money and our employer’s money into the Social Security account for our retirement.  But they never run out of foreign aid for other countries.  Where do you think they get all that from?

Michael A.

The only thing good about our government is that it’s better than some.  Don’t trust them–they are only in it for themselves.

Jeff G.

How is this possible? We all worked hard to contribute to this plan.

Kumu K.

What in the hell do mean “borrow?”  Borrowing implies they would pay it back, and that will never happen.  How do you think they have been giving themselves raises or paying those women hush money to settle sexual harassment claims, etc.  They don’t care about us because they get their salaries for life.  Term limits now and cut their benefits in half now.

David C.

NO COMMON SENSE!  Never intended to pay it back.  Perfect example of what happens when money is turned over to government.  THESE FUNDS WERE STOLEN!

Tom C.

Where do you think the $150 billion plus came from that was given to Iran?

Danny S.

From what I understand, the government takes the money and buys bonds, FDIC-insured. Those bonds will mature in 2020.

James Y.

This was approved by our supposedly elected officials who should be held accountable.

Mike N.

Yes, they did, and state governments, too.  The only way to get it back is to raise the Social Security rate on your paychecks.  It is all taxpayer money.  We need to find a better way.

Linda H.

Yes, and of the three that did raid it (Johnson, Reagan, and GW Bush), Bush borrowed $1.37 Trillion to fund his Iraq and Afghanistan wars, since they were un-budgeted.

Richard F.

They stole it and refuse to pay it back. How about we don’t give them any pay or benefits until it’s paid back?

Jimmy G.

Borrow means it is to be paid back, usually with interest.  When are the payments scheduled to start?  Demand they start now!

Bonnie A.

We, hard-working Americans, demand you thieves give our money back.  Shame on you evil creeps, Democrats and Republicans.  We did not release that money to you crooks.  You stole it.  Vote all their evil asses outta there.

Lois M.

Borrow indicates the intent to repay.  There’s no intention to reimburse the Fund, so let’s call it what it is/was.  Theft!  They stole the money and are using our money for who knows what.  Meantime, those on Social Security can’t receive a cost-of-living raise.  Yes, we got one this year, but adding it up and subtracting the increase for Medicare, we lost money again.

Jim-James S.

First of all, it is against the law!  It’s called “misappropriation of funds!”  They just need to enforce the law!

Nanci J.


Russell B.

Very underhanded–basically stealing!  Who gave them permission to “borrow ” from Social Security?

Linda R.

FDR demanded that all legal USA taxpayers send his federal government a portion of their weekly wages so government could save for them for their retirement or face fine and arrest.  I heard my Mom and Dad discuss the letter.  Mom said, don’t do it.  Dad said, they will send armed men to jail me and who will take care of you and our children?  Our Constitution does not give any branch of the federal government the right to take private citizens’ money.  FDR laughingly called it Social Security–pure socialist program.  FDR also took money out to fund WW2.  Left signed and dated IOU notes.  Never paid back.

Donna C.

They flat out stole our money.  Every cent of it came out of Baby Boomer paychecks.

Stephen C.

They keep telling us Social Security is broke–how can I borrow that kind of money when we can’t even get a decent raise?

Barb L.

That is not a trust fund.  That is our money and money our employers had to contribute.  WE EARNED IT.

Pearl G.

No wonder Social Security is going broke!  That is the people’s retirement money that went into a fund for that use and that alone.  The money was stolen from the people and needs to be returned to the Social Security fund with interest.

Doris H.

Looks like we put our trust in the wrong place.  They do not care–they do not have any souls.

Bruce S.

Borrowing something means the borrower intends to return the item borrowed. The radical rogue regime has no intentions of returning the money it stole from the Social Security fund.

Sandra H.

Doesn’t belong to government.  When are they going to pay it back?  This government is a lot of liars and thieves!

Dominic S.

You mean stole from the people.  Seniors are struggling with day-to-day life and can’t get what they paid in to Social Security because the government stole it from them.

Polly L.

Borrowed?  When are they going to discuss repayment?  When are they going to discuss paying down the national debt?  And remember I’m talking about them discussing these issues which they have no plans to even begin to do.

Theodore W.

Stop taking our Social Security money.  We can’t get a raise–not even a cost-of-living raise.  I don’t remember voting on government to take our Social Security money.  You are stealing from the people.

Jessie D.

Getting that money back in the Social Security FUND could finally put in place money to earn money while still paying out the millions our seniors (who paid into it) for life.

John M.

I think a better term to use is that they stole $2.85 trillion.  I don’t see them paying anything back.  Just think: if we took $2.85 trillion from the government, we would all be in prison.  Why is the government so screwed up and not held accountable for their actions?

Robert S.

Every Congress and President has stolen the money from Social Security to pay for the federal deficit.  I say “stolen” because they have not and won’t pay back the money we and employers paid in.  That’s OUR government at work.

Den R.

That’s money that’s taken from us, and if it was still there, would give us all a higher return and return our full benefits back to the age of 65.

Lee M.

They’ve been doing this since LBJ took money from the Trust Fund to pay for Vietnam with the promise to pay it back.  Every President and Congress since then has been doing it.  They owe over $4 trillion to the Trust Fund with the promise to pay it back.  If they did, then Social Security would be in good financial shape.

Chuck H.

Now they are going after pensions that people have worked their asses off for.  These people gotta be stopped.

Curtis K.

Now is the time to put that money back where it belongs.  We mere senior citizens DON’T have $75,000 to live on for the year.  You and your colleagues STOLE IT TO FATTEN YOUR WALLETS.  NOW IT’S TIME TO OWN UP, SMARTEN UP, AND PAY UP.

Carolyn S.

No, they didn’t borrow it, they stole it.  If you notice all the politicians refer to our Social Security contributions as tax revenue.  I don’t know if they are really that ignorant or not, but all you have to do is look on your paycheck stub and see that 7.5% of your earnings, along with employer matching funds, is a dedicated contribution to your Social Security retirement fund.  NOT GENERAL REVENUE TAX.

Larry H.

Of course not.  There was no intent to repay.  This was mere THEFT FROM WE THE PEOPLE by supposedly “elected” officials including Congresspeople, Senators, and others.

Rhona P.

This is a shame.  It’s like stealing from your mother and father and your own children.  Golly, even your grandparents, they have no shame.

Patricia H.

The “Trust Fund” is a myth.  Social Security is just another line in a budget which also has become a myth.  Federal money is appropriated daily, weekly, or maybe monthly depending whether the nitwits in Congress can get their act together and stop playing games.

Richard B.

President Reagan was the first to raid Social Security, and every president since then has done the same thing.  If you do your research, you will find out that they never really intended for people to draw as it was set up in the 40s and at that time the life expectancy for men was 62 and women was 65.  So Social Security was paid to a general fund.  Then in the late 70s and early 80s the president had a heyday.  And it has been going on ever since.

Linda E.

No wonder they want older people to die.  They don’t want to give the people what they rightfully deserve.  In government, borrowing means stealing.  How much of Social Security is in personal bank accounts.  Crooks don’t investigate crooks.

Paula M.

Thing is, they need legislation to be able to compartmentalize specific accounts.  That would help.  And if something is left too long or becomes not needed, there must be provisions for oversight and joint parts of government to come into that potential issue and debate.

Sue B.

It’s more complicated than this.  It has always been mostly pay-as-you-go.  This month’s payroll taxes pay for this month’s retirement checks.  If there is a surplus, or they’re planning for a future shortfall, the money goes to buy Treasury bonds.

Keith B.

Congress must pay for this…then have the guts to tell us we are going to get less of our Social Security.  We need to take the government to court because we did as a people agree to this.

Joan M.

Stole it is the more likely story.  “Borrow” means they agree to pay it back with interest.  I suspect there will be no interest paid nor will the money be paid back.  Those Congressional thieves don’t pay anything back.  They think it’s free money for them.  Congressmen and women did NOT EARN ONE CENT OF THIS MONE.  IT WAS EARNED BY PEOPLE WHO PAID THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX.

Robert H.

It was just too tempting for politicians in office to see all of OUR money sitting there accumulating and they couldn’t stand it.  The sick part is, it was stolen for wars and to balance the budget for tax cuts to the 1%.  If you think it was bad before, you haven’t seen nothing yet.

Leona B.

The account is obviously too easy to access for unsanctioned interests.  This needs to be addressed!  It’s ridiculous to have to fight this battle constantly.  It is our money.  No one has a right to invade our Trust and misappropriate that which is legally a special fund.

Eleanor W.

We would have to have Congress pass a law, taking Social Security out of the general budget and keeping it separate, the way it was until Lyndon Johnson stuck it in the general budget so that they could spend all the surplus every year and hide the real size of the annual deficit, starting during the war in Vietnam.  Yes, $2.85 trillion has been spent from Social Security that is owed back, and that is money that was paid in by workers, and the Treasury is going to have to pay it back.  Yes, a law should be passed to separate them again, but with this President and this Congress, they are only thinking of cutting our paid-for benefits to maintain their huge tax cuts so that the rich and corporations can be even more uber rich.  It is sickening and unacceptable.

Steven W.

First of all, our government doesn’t “borrow,” they steal our money.  I paid into Social Security for 35 plus years.  Now they tell me it’s an entitlement.  If our fearless leaders work for one term and get a pension for life, I think that is an entitlement.

Ray C.

No…it was more than double that.  Bush Sr. borrowed (?) $3 trillion to fund the war with Iraq, Obama took about $8 billion out and Trump another $3 trillion plus.  And people wonder why Social Security is going broke!  That was our money.  We contributed on a mandatory basis with every single paycheck.  They always say “borrowed,” but actually it was stolen.

Ann D.