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Social Security Isn't 'Going Broke' – It's Already Broke

The headlines following a newly released report from the Social Security trustees could lead you to believe that the Social Security Trust Fund is going broke faster than anticipated. But it’s already broke, and has been for years — because the federal government borrowed the money from the trust fund and spent it.
Here’s how the trust fund works.  The federal government imposes a Social Security payroll tax on workers: 12.4 percent, with employers and employees both paying half.
That money is deposited in the trust fund and the government uses it to pay current Social Security benefits. (There’s actually two trust funds, one for retirees and one for the disabled, but the trustees often combine the two for reporting purposes.)
Historically, workers have paid in more than was needed to cover benefits, allowing the trust fund to grow to $2.9 trillion — at least on paper.  However, the federal government has borrowed the trust

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