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Tom Coburn: Social Security Is Broke Because The Government 'Stole' The Money

Tom Coburn appeared on Morning Joe and with some help from Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski proceeded to trash Harry Reid as "playing politics" with Social Security when he said to "leave Social Security alone" and that it's not broke. When asked
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Tom Coburn appeared on Morning Joe and with some help from Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski proceeded to trash Harry Reid as "playing politics" with Social Security when he said to "leave Social Security alone" and that it's not broke. When asked to explain why what Harry Reid said is not true, Coburn claimed that the government "stole the money" and since Wall Street is demanding that we must do something about our deficit right now, of course that deficit must be paid for on the backs of the working class and the elderly. Heaven forbid we can't ask the rich to pay for running up the deficit.

Here's more from Dean Baker who responded to similar comments made by Tom Coburn on NPR.

Letter to Senator Tom Coburn on Social Security Comments:

According to a clip that aired on a recent segment of NPR’s All Things Considered, you said that Social Security is broke because the federal government stole $2.8 trillion from the Social Security trust fund.

This assertion is mistaken. No money was stolen, and the law has been followed to the letter.

The recommendations of the National Commission on Social Security Reform in 1983, led to the growth of a large surplus. The surplus has always been used to buy bonds.

Just as with any funds used to purchase bonds, the money is borrowed by the government, but repaid at the end of the term of the bond. Saying the government stole from Social Security is like saying the government stole from a grandparent who bought a $100 savings bond for their newborn grand-daughter, and no one believes this to be the case. The reality is that the bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. The bonds will be repaid.

Currently, the bonds making up the trust fund will be able to pay full benefits through the year 2037, and 75 percent thereafter. This is a far cry from broke.

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