Social Security has provided America with retirement security and has protected families for 70 years. Today, some 92 percent of Americans over 65 receive Social Security retirement or spousal benefits. Indeed, Social Security is the most important source of income for older Americans - providing over two-thirds of the income of the average senior.
Congress has so far failed to address the issue of Social Security in the 109th Congress, although much talk has surrounded reforming the program. Americans are now more aware of the potential problems Social Security may face in the future. With changing demographics and the nation's "baby boomers" beginning to enter retirement, Social Security will face a great challenge in the 21st Century as there will be fewer workers paying into the program. According to a recent survey, more than 8 out of 10 voters said they support a proposal to wall off the Social Security surplus funds into a so-called "lock box." Surprisingly, these numbers did not vary across age, party or gender lines. Furthermore, if we want to truly reform the Social Security system for the better, Congress may want to compromise on its own plan over a White House driven plan. Action on long-term financing issues must be taken up soon in order to allow for incremental change and to restore public confidence in the Social Security system.
As a Member of Congress, I am committed to protecting, strengthening, and enhancing the Social Security system without cutting benefits to the program or raising taxes. Social Security needs a solid source of funding, while making sure the burden is not placed on young people and future generations. It is unacceptable to me there is talk amongst my colleagues about potential cuts to this important guaranteed benefit. Georgia's seniors deserve better.
Private Retirement Accounts
President Bush's privatization plan had called for everyone younger than 55 to divert a portion of their income subject to Social Security taxation into individual accounts. Supporters of private retirement accounts say personal accounts would expand asset ownership, improve work incentives for younger workers, and increase national saving. However, these new accounts would do little to fix Social Security's long term financing problems and would most likely be offset by cuts in guaranteed benefits, all while adding over $2 trillion dollars to the national debt. As a staunch supporter of Social Security, rest assured, I will strongly oppose any reform plan that will weaken the program or take guaranteed benefits away from workers and retirees who depend on them.
As a vocal advocate for the Medicare program, I will continue to lend my support to this vital program. I supported the Medicare Prescription Drug plan when it passed in the House in 2003. While the plan is not perfect, I believe adding prescription drug coverage to Medicare was an important step and allowed for thousands of low-income seniors to enroll in a comprehensive prescription drug plan. Furthermore, recent reports show the plan is working and has sent millions of dollars to the state of Georgia as it administers the important health priorities addressed by Medicare and Medicaid. I strongly support strengthening Medicare and enriching the prescription drug benefit for America's seniors.