The 1983 Social Security “fix” required the baby boomers to pay much higher payroll taxes so that they would prepay most of the cost of their own benefits. The higher taxes would generate Social Security surpluses for approximately 30 years, which were supposed to be saved and invested to build up a large reserve in the trust fund. Then, when the baby boomers began to retire in about 2010, the accumulated surpluses from the previous three decades would gradually be drawn down and used to supplement the payroll tax revenue, which was expected to become inadequate to pay full benefits by about 2015. The 1983 Social Security legislation laid the foundation for the greatest fraud ever perpetrated against the American people by their government. The $2.54 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue, generated by the 1983 payroll tax hike, has all been “borrowed” or “stolen” by the government and used to fund tax cuts for the rich, wars, and other government programs.
President Obama is the fifth president to participate in the great Social Security scam, but he has the dubious distinction of being the president, on whose watch, the Social Security time bomb, activated 25 years ago by President Reagan, will run out of time. All of the previous administrations knew that spending Social Security revenue, as if it were general revenue, was wrong and was a violation of both federal law and the public trust. But, they all had the luxury of knowing that the raided Social Security money would not be needed to pay benefits while they were still in office. However, President Obama learned early in his presidency that, unless the government ended the raiding and began repaying the money that had already been raided, Social Security would face a major financial crisis during his presidency.
Beginning in 2015, and every year after that, payroll tax revenue will be insufficient to pay full benefits. This was known in 1983 when the Social Security “fix” was enacted. The plan was to draw down the large reserve that is supposed to be in the trust fund and use that money to supplement payroll tax revenue so that full benefits could be paid until 2037. But that money has already been spent, so the government will have to come up with the money again to repay the $2.54 trillion that it embezzled. This might be manageable in the early years, when the difference between benefit costs and payroll tax revenue is minimal. But, each year, the amount of money needed to replace the looted money gets bigger and bigger. For example, Social Security will run a deficit of approximately $41.4 billion in 2010. But in 2020, the Social Security deficit will have grown to $101.4 billion. Five years later, in 2025, the Social Security shortfall will be $274.6 billion. In 2035, the government would have to come up with an astronomical $621.9 billion in order to pay full Social Security benefits.
When President Obama first saw these numbers, he must have almost gone into a state of shock. His predecessors left him with a lot of problems that can plainly be seen by the public—two wars, a collapsed economy, and a gigantic deficit and debt. But the embezzlement of the Social Security trust fund money was done without public knowledge, and it is doubtful that Obama knew anything about it prior to becoming a United States Senator, and he may have not known about it until he entered the White House. President Obama cannot just kick the can farther down the road as his four predecessors have done. He must find a way to raise the money to repay the government’s debt to Social Security, or cut Social Security benefits so the money will not have to be repaid.
Embezzlement is a crime, and every participant (all the presidents and members of Congress who supported the practice) knew they were committing a crime against the American people as they used the people’s Social Security money as general revenue over the past 25 years. Some individuals, such as the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, attempted to end the raiding 20 years ago. On September 27, 2000, I launched my decade-long campaign to expose the Social Security scam with an appearance on CNN News to discuss my then newly-published book, The Alleged Budget Surplus, Social Security, and Voodoo Economics. For the past 10 years, I have been warning, as forcefully as I could, that a day of reckoning would come, at which time the government might consider defaulting on its huge Social Security debt. But nobody wanted to listen. That day of reckoning is now upon us.