Strengthening and Protecting Retirement Security
"Holt, a plasma physicist turned politician, provided an out-of-town preview of the type of opposition Democrats are preparing to mount against Bush's plan for restructuring the Social Security system...He warned about the long-term costs and potential debate resulting from Bush's idea, saying it could be "not just spending the kids' inheritance, but putting them into debt."
The Washington Post, February 14, 2005
"An effective legislator, Holt has a solid record on the environment, women's health and reproductive rights, as well as issues of concern to senior citizens."
Asbury Park Press Editorial Board October 30, 2002
Holt was endorsed in 2004 by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
New Jerseyans continue to feel the painful impact of the economy. For retirees, paying for necessities on a fixed income is especially difficult. Many people below retirement age are out of work, or have been forced to take lower-paying jobs.
Financially-strapped seniors feel the brunt of that, too, from losing out on part-time employment income that can help defray the high cost of prescription drugs, to losing critical support from struggling family members and friends.
When you spend your life working hard and providing for your family, you ought to be able to retire with financial security. Unfortunately, for too many New Jerseyans, stock market fluctuations and corporate scandals have hurt their retirement savings and delayed retirements, in some cases by years. That's why Rush Holt believes we need to protect pensions, strengthen Social Security, and increase incentives for retirement saving by taking the following steps:
# Repeal the so-called "earnings test" on Social Security, which taxes older Americans who continue to work after retirement by taking one dollar for every two dollars earned.
# Allow people whose 401(k)'s have recently lost a great deal of value to make "catch-up" contributions above the normal limit.
# Prevent pension plans from over-investing in a single stock. Stockbrokers tell their clients to diversify - pensions should be no different.
# Ensure that employees have a seat on the investment boards that handle their money, and hold executives accountable when they provide false information.
# Require companies to insure pension plans adequately. When Enron crashed, its insurance policy was worth only 4% of the $1.3 billion in value that employees lost in their pensions.
Rush believes Congress should provide aid to states like New Jersey to prevent local cuts in health care, education, transportation and homeland security - and to provide temporary assistance to people who are out of work but still looking, and who need to pay for basics like rent and groceries. And we need to provide fair, targeted tax cuts that will put money immediately into the hands of New Jersey's families and small businesses. The right kind of tax relief can spur investment and stimulate job growth without worsening the national debt.
Unfortunately, the leadership in Congress passed, and the President recently signed, tax legislation that will balloon our national debt and give a disproportionate tax-break to the most well-off in hopes that the benefit will trickle down to working and middle class families and individuals. Rush doubts, as do many economic experts, that this approach will work. It is fiscally reckless.
We must also meet other important needs, like ensuring that prescription drugs are available to seniors by providing a universal, voluntary and comprehensive benefit through Medicare. And we need to stand by our veterans and military retirees by providing the quality health care and benefits they were promised and deserve.
My district office in West Windsor has successfully helped scores of constituents cut through red tape to receive the social security benefits they've earned.
The following are examples of Rush's office acting on behalf of local residents who contacted him after experiencing frustration with mountains of bureaucratic red tape concerning their retirement benefits:
One woman from Branchburg received $50,000 retroactively in disability benefits that she was owed after Rush's staff thoroughly presented her case on her behalf.
One man from East Brunswick, another from Plainsboro, and a woman from Ocean Township each rightfully received $20,000 in benefits after the necessary information was provided to agency staff by Rush's office.
After receiving clear documentation from Rush's staff, the Social Security Administration stopped demanding return of $25,000 from a Monroe woman who the agency had incorrectly claimed had been overpaid.
After a resident of Freehold called Rush's district office because Medicare and Social Security refused to cover medical costs for the last 6 months of his late wife's life, Rush's staff provided both agencies with appropriate documentation. Once the information was properly submitted, the constituent's expenses were paid.
One constituent who wrote Rush had this to say:
"I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for your assistance in obtaining Medicare benefits for me. Effective and persistent intervention from your office cleared up months of confusion caused by the Social Security Administration."
That's my job.
Citizens Groups Stand With Rush: (see most recent endorsements, please click here.)
* National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare - an advocate for protecting these programs for Americans.
* AFL-CIO - a voluntary federation of America's unions, representing 13 million working men and women.
* New Jersey State AFL-CIO - represents over 1,000,000 working families in the state.
* New Jersey Service Employees International Union - represents 25,000 Service Employees
* New Jersey Education Association - founded in 1853, represents more than 174,000 educators, and is an advocate for improving public schools.