Congress raided Social Security, and that’s why the program’s trust fund is running dry. At least that’s what many people believe about why this popular retirement program is in serious financial trouble. There’s just one problem with this often-repeated theory: It’s not true.
There are a few reasons people believe it is, but the facts actually tell a very different story.
Why do people believe that Congress raided the Social Security trust fund?
There are two big reasons people incorrectly believe that money in the Social Security trust fund has been used improperly by Washington lawmakers.
The first is an accounting change that took effect in 1969. Before that there was a separate budget for Social Security’s trust fund. However, having multiple budgets for different federal programs was confusing, so President Lyndon Johnson created a “unified budget” in 1968. Under the unified budget system, transactions to Social Security’s trust funds were presented along with the larger budget for all federal spending.