On paper, Social Security is self-funded but under the “unified budget” law passed by the Democrat-controled Congress in the 1980s, the $2.8 trillion surplus referred to the Aug. 10 Kennebec Journal has been used to buy government bonds, in other words, to fund ongoing federal budget deficits. Thus, future Social Security payments in excess of collections will be funded by increasing the already excessive federal deficit.

Retirees are certainly entitled to the benefits for which they have paid. If the government had properly funded the Social Security obligation in the manner required of private pension funds, future Social Security payments would not affect the federal deficit. Under the unified budget, they do.

Thomas Gillette