About The Raid of Our Social Security Trust Fund

“The Social Security Trust Fund does not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures.”

— President Bill Clinton, 2000 Budget Proposal


“Congress needs to stop raiding the Social Security trust fund to pay for unrelated government spending. The American people are right to demand an end to this shameful practice… For over 30 years, Congress has spent the Social Security surplus on other government programs, and it’s a safe bet that this will continue unless we can enact legislation that requires a change.”

— Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, July 7, 2005


“The government has lied to you, and they have stolen from you. They told you that your Social Security money is in a trust fund. All that’s in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs from money they spent on something else a long time ago. And they stole it from you because now they know they cannot pay these benefits, and Social Security is going to be insolvent in seven to eight years”

—NJ Governor Chris Christie, October 29, 2015


“Money that taxpayers have paid into Social Security for their retirement should not be used to pay for everything from foreign aid to defense to public housing. That is just plain dishonest.”

— US Congressman Elton Gallegly, April 5, 1998


“Last night while you were sleeping the Senate voted to steal $150 billion dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund. I joined 34 of my colleagues in a vote to prevent this raid. I would like to thank Senator Rand Paul for leading the fight to protect to Social Security from the thieves in Washington, who seem to think that if they steal from the American people at night while they are sleeping that they will get away with it.”

— US Senator Mike Lee, October 30, 2015


“The government has borrowed more from the Social Security surplus than it has from any other source in the world, including China. As a result, Social Security now “owns” nearly 18 percent of the federal debt, making it the largest single holder of US debt. The government owes almost twice as much to Social Security as it does to China and Hong Kong.  Why aren’t the opponents worried about paying back Social Security — why aren’t they talking about repaying this debt to the American people?”

— US Senator Don Riegle, April 5, 2011


“In 1983, Congress raised the payroll tax rate that funds Social Security benefits to prepare for the retirement of the baby boom generation. Much to my disappointment, however, the actual cash surplus from the excess payroll taxes, amounting to $2.4 trillion including interest over the last 25 years, was borrowed from the Trust Fund and used to support government spending on other programs. In return for the borrowed funds, the Social Security Trust Fund was credited with Treasury bonds. These bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government and they earn interest, but these bonds are not “real” assets with cash value. Instead, they merely represent a first claim on future revenues. If the revenues are not there (and they will not be as long as the government continues to run budget deficits), then the federal government will have to raise taxes or cut other spending to finance promised Social Security benefits. This is gross financial mismanagement. We don’t have enough trust funds with money in them to satisfy the demands put on our government. We need to start making the right choices.”

— US Senator Mike Enzi, on his website


“Congress has a duty to preserve the Social Security program for workers and retirees who have played by the rules and paid into Social Security throughout their careers. Congress must also work to make the program sustainable for future generations.  For years, the Social Security trust fund ran surpluses, but unfortunately nothing prevented the government from spending those surpluses on unrelated government programs. That is completely unacceptable.”

— US Congressman Steve Scalise, on his website


“When Social Security claims the interest it has earned to pay benefits, the government is required to pay back the interest it owes to Social Security. This is what the opponents don’t like. Social Security did not create the economic problem or the budget deficit. Wall Street and other government spending did. But the opponents of Social Security don’t want to pay back all the money that was borrowed from Social Security, including the interest earned. Instead, they want to cut Social Security benefits.”

— US Senator Don Riegle, April 5, 2011


“Social Security should be sacrosanct – it shouldn’t be a slush fund for politicians to raid to pay for other priorities… It’s critical that we pass a long-term transportation bill, but we shouldn’t do it at the expense of Americans who depend on Social Security.”

— US Senator Sherrod Brown, July 23, 2015


“Politicians who refuse to stop the raid are part of the problem. The reason Democrats don’t like people owning their retirement, is because they like controlling your money.”

— US Senator Jim DeMint, June 23, 2005


“We’ve got to convince more of our fellow citizens that Social Security really is — and by the way, I was wrong when I said this in 2010, I said it’s a Ponzi scheme. Ponzi schemes are illegal. So, Social Security is — it’s a legal Ponzi scheme.”

— US Senator Ron Johnson, June 23, 2016


“The truth is that House Republican leaders have turned their back on America’s senior citizens and are raiding billions every day from our Social Security trust fund. …The total raid has run now to over $235 billion. That averages out to about $837 for every single American who will qualify for Social Security. When I first came to this floor 4 weeks ago, they dipped into the Social Security trust fund to a raid of $208 billion, and in just 4 weeks, that has gone up an additional $27 billion.”

— US Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, July 9, 2002


“We can’t keep stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund to bail out the SSDI program. We need real reforms that will both make it easier for recovering Americans to return to work and make the program solvent.”

— US Senator Mike Lee, April 5, 2017


“Some months ago, this House stood almost unanimously and said we would put the Social Security monies in a lockbox. The lockbox is smashed. We are spending Social Security, $1.6 trillion of it, in this budget resolution that is before us today. In addition, Medicare is being cut billions of dollars.  Our seniors, who have built this country, have no medical insurance.”

— US Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick, March 20, 2002


“What is most troubling to me about this is the duplicity that is involved. We are breaching the faith of the American public. It is absolutely wrong that we resort to smoke and mirrors and gimmicks to claim that we are not going into the Social Security Trust Fund.”

— US Congressman David Minge, September 8, 2009


“For the past 32 years Congress has raided the Social Security trust fund to pay for more government… Seniors in my district are surprised to hear that Congress has been routinely operating in this manner. They do not understand why politicians in Washington use retirement money for anything other than retirement. It just does not seem right. It is not right. We must stop the President’s raid on Social Security.”

— US Congressman Bob Schaffer, September 29, 2009


“…the Social Security Trust Fund contains nothing…the Treasury sends the Social Security Administration a piece of paper that says: IOU… There are countless such pieces of paper in the lockbox. They are called “special issue” bonds. Special they are: they are worthless.”

— Charles Krauthammer


“Social Security is by far the most popular federal government program, the best funded federal program, and the strongest remaining piece of our badly frayed system of social benefits. It is also under relentless attack by those who would kill it.”

— David Cay Johnston, 2015


“There are two main differences between Ponzi’s original scam and the Social Security system. The first difference is that Social Security is run by the government and, whatever its constitutionality and its questionable ethics, is legal. The second difference follows from the first: whereas Ponzi had to rely on suckers, the government can and does use force.”

— David R. Henderson, 2001


“Social Security is squarely based on what has been called the eighth wonder of the world–compound interest. A growing nation is the greatest Ponzi game ever contrived. And that is a fact, not a paradox.”

— Paul Samuelson, February 13, 1967


“A vote to raid Social Security in the middle of the night in a desperate attempt to perpetuate an unsustainable spending addiction isn’t a sign of strength. It is a sign of weakness.”

— US Senator Mike Lee, October 30, 2015


“It’s not unreasonable for people who paid into a system for decades to expect to get their money’s worth–that’s not an “entitlement,” that’s honoring a deal. We as a society must also make an ironclad commitment to providing a safety net for those who can’t make one for themselves. Social Security is here to stay. To be sure, we must reform it, root out the fraud, make it more efficient, and ensure that the program is solvent. Same goes for Medicare. Again, people have lived up to their end of the bargain and paid into the program in good faith. Of course they believe they’re “entitled” to receive the benefits they paid for–they are!”

— President Donald Trump, December 5, 2011


“Social Security is a covenant between the American government and American retirees. Our nation’s senior citizens have paid into the Social Security system their whole life with the promise that it would be there for them when they retire. I intend to keep this promise, not only to those Americans who currently rely on Social Security, but also to those Americans who are nearing retirement and will be relying on this program to meet their retirement budgets.”

— Vice President Mike Pence, January 8, 2012