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Revising the presentation of government accounts to separate Social Security completely from the rest of the budget also would clarify the extent to which the system is adding to national capital accumulation. Technically, the Social Security Amendments of 1983 already have placed the Social Security trust funds "off-budget." This legislation reversed the reliance on the concept of the unified budget first used by Lyndon Johnson in FY1969. The difficulty is that, while Social Security is exempt from most enforcement procedures, budget targets are always stated in terms of the unified budget and the budget numbers reported by the Administration, Congress, and the press always include the balances in the trust funds. Thus, separating Social Security from the rest of the budget requires changing culture more than changing legal requirements.
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