If Democratic interns want to do their masters a favor, please fast forward to 1:26 and listen to Ronald Reagan mention the truth: Social Security does not contribute to the deficit. Reading Elizabeth Drew’s invaluable Campaign Journal: The Political Events of 1984 led me to watch the whole debate, known now as the one in which Mondale — for the first and only time — made Reagan look querulous and doddering after a well-aimed question.
Here’s the answer:
Now, Social Security, let’s lay it to rest once and for all. I told you never would I do such a thing. But I tell you also now, Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the out-go of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce a deficit. It would go into the Social Security Trust Fund. So, Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.
Now, again, to get to whether I am depending on magic, I think I have talked in straight economic terms about a program of recovery that I was told wouldn’t work. And then, after it worked, I was told that lowering taxes would increase inflation. And none of these things happened. It is working, and we’re going to continue on that same line.