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Public Statements

Issue Position: Social Security

Issue Position

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Date:
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The state of our sacred Social Security system is in disrepair. If we continue on our current course, without strengthening the Social Security program, it will soon be broke, leaving our nation's seniors and disabled in jeopardy. In 2010, the United States government paid out more in benefits than it received in income for first time since 1983. There was a $49 billion deficit in 2010, a projected $46 billion for 2011 and deficits of over $20 billion for 2012-2014. After 2014, redeeming trust fund assets out of the General Trust Fund of the Treasury will pay these deficits. This Trust Fund is expected to be exhausted by 2036. After 2036, at the current tax income level, benefits will only be able to be paid out at .75 cents for every dollar owed.

In 2011, nearly 56 million Americans received over $727 billion in Social Security (SS) benefits. That is equal to 1/6th of the US population, for an average monthly benefit of $1,082.20. The Social Security share of the total 2010 US budget was 20%. In 2011, SS spending as a share of GDP was 5% -- and projected to be 6.1% in 2035.

When Social Security benefits were first paid out on a monthly basis in 1940, there were nearly 160 workers paying into the system for every beneficiary. By 1960, this ratio dropped to 4.9, and in 2010, that number fell to 2.8. In 2014, the number of beneficiaries will grow substantially faster than the number of covered workers, and by 2035, the worker-to-beneficiary ratio is projected to drop to 1.9. At this rate, Social Security as we know it, will simply be unsustainable after 2035.

With so many people depending on Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Survivor's Benefits, I am making sure that I do everything I can to strengthen these programs in order to protect and preserve the safety net upon which over 56 million Americans are dependent.


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