Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) issued the following statement today about Republican Leader John Boehner's proposal to means-test Social Security:
"Today, Congressman John Boehner, leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, suggested reducing or eliminating Social Security benefits for Americans with "substantial non-Social Security income."
"I reject this attempt to turn Social Security into a welfare program only for seniors without other sources of income. We should urge all Americans to save for retirement. To then tell them that because they save for retirement, they will lose their Social Security benefits is both unfair and self-defeating.
"Congressman Boehner has supported tax provisions that favor the super wealthy claiming they would increase the savings and capital available for economic expansion. Yet the mere issuance of his Social Security proposal will deter savings by middle class families. From this day forward, families will know that the money they save for their retirement may be taken away from them in the form of losing their Social Security benefits.
"Social Security is basically a pension program. Workers and their employers contribute. Upon reaching retirement age, the worker receives benefits.
"In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on June 28, Leader Boehner asks, "If you have substantial non-social security income while you are retired, why are we paying you?' Congressman Boehner is not willing to "means test' his own Congressional pension. He contributes to it, and he expects to collect it, whether or not he has substantial income from other sources.
"Most Americans don't get a congressional pension. For many Americans the only pension they will receive is Social Security and it is outrageous that Boehner would propose taking their pension rights away simply because they save for their retirement.
"With one statement, Congressman Boehner, the Republican Leader in the House, has taken the security out of Social Security. Now, middle class families saving for retirement do not know whether they will be penalized for saving, because Republicans will cut their Social Security benefit.
"Advocates of means-testing Social Security pretend that they are only talking about cutting benefits from those as rich as Bill Gates. But, significant savings are not available to the Social Security Fund, unless we take away benefits from middle-class retirees.