When it began the first recipients had paid nothing into it. This meant that it had to be supported by then current contributions. It was and is pure redistribution of income.
The SS Fund represented the surplus between what came in and what was paid out. This surplus was eventually invested in Federal Treasury Bonds. In other words the government was borrowing the surplus and spending it on other programmes.
I believe there was a Supreme Court case that defined the SS contributions as a tax and the payments as a benefit because it is paid out of current cash flow.
Of course it was sold to the people as a kind of retirement savings programme but it never was any such thing. Legally it is what the Supreme Court says it is and that means it is completely under the control of the Administration. They can reduce it or even abolish it without recourse. Those alive today under 30 are the ones most likely to be left high and dry unless there is a dramatic change. This is probably why Dr. Paul proposed allowing anyone 25 or younger to opt out entirely. He knew what was going to happen.
"Jesus answered them: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)
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