THE BLOG
03/30/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gray Matters : Social Security Blunder in State of the Union

Here is what President Obama said in the State of the Union:

"Now, even after paying for what we spent on my watch, we'll still face the massive deficit we had when I took office. More importantly, the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will continue to skyrocket. That's why I've called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad. (Applause.) This can't be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solved a problem. The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline."

This misinformation, echoed by the president, is constantly repeated by the punditocracy. And it's wrong,

Aside from the $11 billion that will be spent on administration in 2010, which is less than one percent of the $650 billion Social Security pays out in benefits, the cost of Social Security will not skyrocket. It is not a drag on the budget. It is self sustaining and even earns nearly $1 billion a year in interest. In 2009 it ran $180 million in the black. It has nearly $3 trillion in its trust fund.

Now repeat after me, Social Security does not add to the budget deficit..if anything, it helps finance the deficit.