"It's a giant fund that pays benefits to 30 million retirees as well as 15 million members of families where a parent has died or become disabled due to injury. The benefits are different from the kind that you get in an investment program because they are guaranteed -- they don't depend on your skills or luck. They are also adjusted to provide a safety net for the middle class and to lift lower income Americans out of poverty. Your employer sets aside 6.2% of your income, matches that same amount, and sends the whole thing to Social Security. You get a benefit when your time comes. Through that mechanism, Social Security is basically a promise from your government that when you get old, after a lifetime of hard work, you won't end up in poverty."Calling social security a "giant fund" seems just a bit inaccurate to me. There is certainly a "trust fund" related to a pile of paper called Treasury securities. But there is no pile of money stashed somewhere to pay off those securities. At the present time, the social security tax takes more money from current workers than is paid out as benefit checks to those currently retired. The extra is used to "purchase" Treasury securities. The extra which is now revenue from the sale of Treasury securities is then spent by Congress. What is purchased by the extra social security tax revenue is the promise by Congress to pay off the securities at some future date when the Social Security Administration asks. When the promise to pay becomes due where will Congress get the money? It might borrow the money by selling other people new Treasury securities, it might increase the income tax, it might reduce spending on other government programs (perhaps education, or transportation, or national defense), or it might do some combination of all three. In other words, this "giant fund" spoken of by Rock the Vote is actually a promise by Congress to, starting around the year 2017, increase borrowing, increase taxes, or decrease spending, or all of the above. Some fund, eh?
And perhaps something should be said about the idea that "your employer sets aside" a pile of money for you and sends it to social security. What your employer does is withhold from your salary a TAX payment. That tax payment is then used by government in the way I've described just above. It is spent on paying benefits to those currently retired and it is spent by Congress.