Two days before Social Security turns 75, local seniors and senior advocates joined Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) in Richmond to call on Congress to protect the vital retirement income program.
Miller and many of his Democratic colleagues in Congress are holding events this week across the country to celebrate the success of Social Security over the last three quarters of a century and also to warn against the reemergence of plans in Congress to privatize it and cut is benefits.
"On this 75th anniversary, we are renewing our commitment to defend Social Security, a program that has kept so many seniors out of poverty," Miller said. "We must do everything we can to ensure that Social Security is available to future generations. And make no mistake -- if Republicans had succeeded before at privatizing Social Security, seniors would have lost trillions of dollars in retirement income when the markets crashed in 2008. This Republican plan was under George W. Bush and it remains dangerous today."
Miller was joined at the celebration by representatives from San Pablo Senior Center, Opportunity West, NARF, CARA, Meals on Wheels Senior Outreach Services, HICAP, Hercules Senior Center, Richmond Senior Center, AARP, Richmond Commission on Aging and the West County Senior Coalition.
Miller noted that protecting Social Security is just one way he is working to help seniors. "Protecting Social Security is just one thing we're doing to help seniors in these difficult times," Miller added. "The historic health insurance reform law we just passed is strengthening Medicare, and seniors with high drug costs are getting a one-time $250 check as a down payment to help with drug costs as we close the donut hole that congressional Republicans created in 2005."
Miller's event was in response to proposals by Republican members of Congress that would privatize Social Security and cut its benefits to seniors and the disabled --moves that would make Social Security vulnerable to the ups and downs of Wall Street and that would have wiped out benefits to seniors had they been in place during the financial collapse in 2008. President George W. Bush tried to pursue a similar policy when he was in office but ran into stiff opposition and eventually dropped the plan.