This week I join western Wisconsin seniors in celebrating the 75th anniversary of Social Security. As we commemorate this landmark legislation, I am reminded of a promise made 75 years ago--a promise that old age will not force hard-working Americans into poverty and destitution. Over the years, we have worked to make sure that promise has been continually strengthened. Right here in western Wisconsin, 136,000 people receive Social Security benefits. In honor of this milestone, I vow to continue fighting to preserve this program for generations to come and protect it from those who want to undermine and dismantle it.
Over the years, Democrats in Congress have fought long and hard to improve and strengthen Social Security; from expanding and fine-tuning it in the 1950s and 1960s, to preserving its solvency in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 2005, when some members of Congress tried to privatize the program, I fought hard with my colleagues to save Social Security from this effort to destroy it, putting our seniors' financial security at risk. If in 2005, President Bush and others had been successful in privatizing Social Security, seniors would have lost billions of dollars in Social Security income along with any retirement savings they had when the economy collapsed at in 2008. When the stock market plunged and the housing bubble burst, there was one thing America's seniors could count on -Social Security.
There are those in Congress that are again threatening to privatize Social Security. We cannot allow that to happen. Social Security is a foundation of our society, based on the premise that if you work hard and play by the rules you will have the stability and security of guaranteed income in your older years. Hard-working Americans who have paid into the system for almost their entire lives have earned this guaranteed benefit.
For 75 years, Social Security has provided the foundation for Americans' retirement security for generations and should be preserved for generations to come. Instead of working to dismantle Social Security, I am committed to work across the aisle to strengthen the program.