Social Security provides a critical bulwark against poverty for a significant percentage of Rhode Island's seniors. In fact, our state ranks among the top for residents over the age of 65. More than 190,000 Rhode Islanders are beneficiaries of Social Security. For decades, these Rhode Islanders have paid into the Social Security system, while contributing to the fabric of our society and economy and playing vital roles in our community. We owe them the benefits they have earned, free from fear that Social Security may not be there when they need it most. To ensure that this system remains viable, I will oppose efforts to privatize Social Security and work to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
Privatizing the Social Security system would expose current and future retirees and their families to great risk and endanger the safety net on which they will rely in their golden years. Under a privatized system, Social Security benefits would no longer be determined primarily by a worker's earnings and the contributions made over the course of an individual's career. It has become particularly clear in recent years that the stock market can be extremely risky for investors. America's seniors deserve to be confident in the knowledge that their retirement savings will be available in the future, and not subject to the whims of the financial markets.
In addition, all seniors should be treated fairly when it comes to retirement benefits, regardless of whether they have performed government service during their careers. I support elimination of both the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision to ensure that retirees are not penalized simply because they may also be eligible for a government pension in addition to Social Security. Social Security is a commitment to all Americans, and the government must not let them down.