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Pallone Celebrates 70th Anniversary of Social Security at Rally in Roosevelt

Location: Roosevelt, NJ

August 13, 2005

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), gave the following statement at a rally in Roosevelt, NJ today celebrating the 70th birthday of Social Security.

"I want to thank New Jersey Citizen Action for organizing this celebration. It's sad to think of this anniversary passing without any fanfare, but if the Bush administration had its way, tomorrow's anniversary would go unnoticed. Today, we're making sure that doesn't happen.

"When President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935, he said (and I'm quoting) 'we can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-stricken old age.'

"Before Social Security, large majorities of American seniors lived in extreme poverty. In many instances they were forced to turn to their children for assistance. Seniors lost their independence and put a strain on their own children's financial future. Social Security changed that--- providing those first beneficiaries a sense of independence---something that has continued for 70 uninterrupted years.

"This is indeed something all Americans should celebrate this weekend. Unfortunately, the Bush administration forced its own agenda on the Social Security Administration (SSA), and forbid SSA from celebrating its own birthday. Nowhere on the Social Security Administration website will you see a mention of this milestone, and no events are scheduled for this weekend. This is in sharp contrast to past celebrations, including the 60th anniversary in 1995, which was commemorated with the theme 'Social Security: We're here for your benefit.'

"Today, we face a president and Congressional Republican leaders willing to risk 70 years of success all in the name of privatization. When Congress returns to Washington in September, the House Republican leadership will attempt to bring up a Social Security privatization proposal as part of a larger retirement security bill. It's critical that you make your voice heard so we can prevent any privatization bill from moving forward.

"Seventy years ago, President Roosevelt explained the need for Social Security at a time when our nation had been rocked by more than a century of industrial changes that made life more insecure. Today, at a time when companies are terminating promised pensions and 401(k)s are losing their value, Americans are facing their own insecurity. Fortunately, one promise is still guaranteed---and that's the promise of Social Security. I will not budge in my support of this promise so that 70 years from now my grandchildren will have access to the same Social Security program that exists today."

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