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Social Security and Inequities Towards Women

Location: Washington, DC

SOCIAL SECURITY AND INEQUITIES TOWARD WOMEN -- (House of Representatives - June 22, 2005)


Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite), and I thank her for her leadership on this issue. She mentioned earlier that she has one of the largest Social Security recipient populations in this country. She is passionate about being certain that Social Security is preserved, and I appreciate the attention that she puts on this issue every single day. She has been a champion of this, and her leadership means so much to so many of us, and I think to women in general.

It is so interesting that tonight we have had a female attorney, a female Realtor, a female college professor, and I am a small business owner. We all come from different walks of life; and I would venture to say, as we have our town hall meetings, that is the same mix we are seeing, women from all walks of life who are looking at how their family meets their financial goals and looking at their retirement security. They are serious about this. They want to be certain that they are planning ahead. And they know that, as they pull together what that template is going to be for their retirement, Social Security is an important part of that. So they are paying attention to what we do and what we do not do.

We know that the status quo is not acceptable for Social Security because we know what that means. We all have looked at the charts and at the figures, and we know we have to be aggressive and hard working to be certain that Social Security is stabilized, that solvency is guaranteed.

We know right now there are three workers for every retiree, and soon that is going to change. We know by the time we get to 2018, we are going to stop running that surplus each year and all of those IOUs that have been collected are going to come due. That requires action now and action on our part.

As the gentlewoman from Virginia mentioned, she was a Realtor and she looked at Social Security as she wrote that check for 12.4 percent: the individual share of 6.2 percent and the employer's share of 6.2 percent. That means all of our small businesses, and female-owned small businesses are the fastest growing sector in the economy. Those women are writing that check for 12.4 percent. And then they come to the meetings, the town hall meetings that we hold, and they say if you do not do something soon, we are going to find out that we are paying this 12.4 percent, and it is our money. We have earned that money. We want to have our name on that money, not the government; and we know we are never going to see it in our retirement checks.

Women are many times not only the small business owner, they are the financial manager for their family and they are looking at that pay stub every month and they are looking at the amount that government is taking out in taxes, in Social Security, and they are expecting results and they are expecting action to be certain that there are more options for them to choose from in their retirement security.

As I said earlier, Social Security is a piece of that retirement security. They are also looking at long-term care. They are looking at long-term health care insurance. They are looking at pension plans and the solvency of those pension plans. They are looking at 401(k)s, and they want to be certain that the options are there. At the same time, they are wanting to be certain that it is not a burden to their children and grandchildren, not individually, not as we are looking at Social Security stabilization, not as we are looking at private accounts. They want to be certain that we are thoughtful, that we have generational fairness on the table as a component of that discussion.

Mr. Speaker, in the last few days, we have heard quite a bit of rhetoric about the Social Security debate. I would applaud some of our Members both on the Senate side and here on the House side that are looking at both components of this debate, the solvency issue and the personal accounts issue. I applaud the fact that they are looking to be certain that we are going to have individuals who get their money, that they get back what they have put into this system, and that they can depend on getting those benefits.

I think it is appropriate to know that we are really tuned toward being certain that Social Security meets its obligation, not only to today's seniors and today's near seniors but for American workers like my children who are in their early twenties who are looking at Social Security, they are paying into that system, and being certain that Social Security is there to meet its obligation to them.

This is an issue that does affect all Americans. It is an issue that affects families. It is an issue that we are appropriately focusing on to find solutions addressing retirement security for all Americans.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Florida for her leadership on the issue and for organizing our time here on the floor tonight.


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