Raising the deficit, Social Security… and lying.

Sanders, an independent who’s running for the Democratic nomination for president, has made this claim several times, recently saying in a video he sent out on Twitter on Oct. 6 that “Social Security does not add one nickel to the deficit.” On Sept. 25, he tweeted that the program “had not contributed one penny to the deficit.” And he, like other Democrats, has been making the claim for several years.

Sanders is talking about what’s called the “on-budget” deficit, while Social Security is considered an “off-budget” program. But in terms of actual federal revenue and outlays, and borrowing, Social Security is contributing to yearly deficits and has been since 2010. Sanders himself has considered Social Security to be a part of the overall budget: On his Senate website, he includes raising the income cap on Social Security taxes as one way to “reduce the deficit.”

Over the years this is often a theme of Democrats. Well if that’s true, then how can they say now that Republicans are going to cut Social Security to pay for their tax cut deficit? Either Social Security affects the deficit or it doesn’t.

He also said SS is a self-funding program paid for by our payroll taxes. When he said those things many Americans believed him and many still do. But you see neither statement is correct.

Since 2010 SS has run its own deficit because payroll taxes are not sufficient to pay current benefits. Interest payments MADE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT on the $2.9 trillion in treasury bonds ($88 billion in 2016) are all that keep your full benefit coming. Where do you think that money comes from?

In a few years those bonds will start to be redeemed to pay our benefits. Where do you think that money will come from? Around 2034 all the bonds will have been redeemed and spent. Then what do you think will happen?

It’s a lot easier to listen to the rosey and very inaccurate story Democrats tell than it is to the harsh story of the need to fix SS that Republicans poorly express. The fact is the Social Security Trustees have been urging major changes in taxes and/or Social Security benefits for decades.


One comment

  1. But then, Bernie and Nancy and Chuckie and Liz won’t be able to buy your vote with promises that send the bill Americans under age 18 or generations as yet unborn.

    How unfair that anyone, let alone evil Republicans interrupt vote buying.


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