HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER
Jan 25, 2005
HON. MARCY KAPTUR
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2005
Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, the theme for my remarks tonight is honor thy father and thy mother. The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed, and I might say they are nonpartisan, that the projected budget deficit for this year for our country will be over $368 billion, not even counting the additional $80 billion that will be added to that when bills come before this Congress for additional funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. Though these dollars literally are coming from the Social Security Trust Fund itself, the Congressional Budget Office noted that last year was the largest deficit in the history of our Nation, $412 billion, is the reason that the dollar value of currency is dropping. In fact, if we add up the last 3 years, we have the largest budget deficit in the history of the Republic.
When President Bush came into office, there was a $5.6 trillion surplus. In fact, I thought it was rather funny at the time, Alan Greenspan was starting to get worried that we might actually pay our bills. He was a little uncomfortable that maybe the bond market would not be completely happy. What would we do if we paid all our bills?
But now we have a $2.6 trillion deficit. That is a reversal of nearly $3 trillion. It is obvious this administration and their allies in the Congress cannot handle the pursestrings of this Nation.
The very same people who brought us this fiscal train wreck, which is getting worse, are now proposing radical surgery on Social Security. Nothing President Bush has attempted to date, not even his incessant effort to shift the tax burden off the shoulders of the rich onto the middle class, is as brazen and audacious as his misguided efforts to try to gut Social Security.
There is no crisis in Social Security. Repeat, there is no crisis in Social Security. There is only a crisis in the Bush administration's handling of the budget. Why would anyone trust the Bush administration on anything regarding Social Security, seeing that they are a miserable failure in terms of the management of the account of the people of the United States?
Social Security is the most successful domestic program in the modern history of our Nation. Approximately 45 million Americans receive their Social Security insurance benefits and disability benefits. Just over 7 million of those are disability recipients. In the State that I am from, Ohio, 1,922,406 individuals receive Social Security insurance benefits and 208,000 disability benefits.
We do not know what is going to happen to our families. One out of five families in this country are going to have an unforeseen happening that will require eligibility for disability. There is no private sector policy that will ever offer it. These are insurance and disability benefits. They are not private accounts. They are not 401(k)s. They are not certificates of deposit. This is an insurance and disabilities program. It has always been that.
The Congress voted repeatedly not to allow the executive branch to dip into the trust fund, and yet that is exactly what is happening today. The President is trying to whip up a frenzy in the country and say the sky is falling, the sky is falling, trying to scare America's seniors and our young people who are going to get old someday into thinking Social Security is in crisis. Even the head of the AARP has said Social Security is not in crisis, the program will remain solvent, and what we have to do over the next 50 years is just to make sure that the gap financing that is there will cover future beneficiaries.
We can do that in several ways. We have done it before. We can do it again. In fact, what is interesting, the Bush administration's four enacted tax cuts being made permanent would cost 2 percent of GDP over the next 75 years, which is three to five times as much as any of Social Security's future financing needs. Under their plan, instead of benefits being tied to prevailing standards of living during the course of a worker's career, the change would freeze Social Security benefits at today's standard of living, which means we would keep regressing backwards, and future generations of retirees would have lower and lower benefits compared to their wages during their working lives.
This cut would apply to all beneficiaries whether or not they had chosen to have a private account. It should not be an either/or, private accounts or Social Security. It should be both, and make sure Social Security is solvent. Stop borrowing against it. And fine, let us encourage private savings like we used to in this country up until the last few years.
Social Security should be a guarantee, an insurance guarantee and a disability guarantee, as Democrats have not only promised but have delivered from the time of Franklin Roosevelt. Social Security should be a guarantee, not a gamble.
Let me end with the words to the Republicans, I can only say if they want to fight on Social Security, bring it on, because this Member intends to honor thy father and thy mother.