100 Reasons, Day #93: Protection of Social Security is Essential
Retirement security is another important element of building and preserving a vibrant middle class. Concerned about the health and living conditions among retired teachers, Ethel Percy Andrus founded the National Retired Teachers Association which evolved to be a division within AARP. As a director in the AARP Public Policy Institute, I supported two high level priority protections for AARP members and other Americans: Health and Financial Security. Two federal programs that are essential to an aging population -- Medicare and Social Security -- have worked together to assure those protections. Social Security provides retirement income and survivor benefits and also protects disabled Americans of all ages.
According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, almost 58 million people received some sort of Social Security benefit in 2013. Owing to the baby boomers becoming eligible to draw Social Security and for a longer period of time as longevity increases, there is an extra load on Social Security funds. We need to address sustainability for future generations. However, as a self-financed program -- Social Security should be considered separately from the rest of the budget. It is solvent for a generation to come, giving Congress time to make some minor and gradual adjustments that would not affect current beneficiaries yet allow the program to serve generations to come.
Interestingly, a new study actually reveals a relationship between the solvency of Social Security and a topic of yesterday's discussion of woman's right to equal pay for equal work. Released last week by Social Security Works, the study makes the case that income equality for women could trim Social Security's shortfall by a third. The reduction would occur as women pay in to the Social Security System, based on higher earnings.
Elizabeth Warren makes a similar argument related to comprehensive immigration reform. Immigration reform can help save Social Security as more workers are brought out of the shadow economy and into the fully paid economy where everything is above the table.
Today's reason for a vote for Cleary for Congress focuses on my passionate stance against privatizing Social Security and instead creating sound policy solutions for keeping it solvent. Privatizing Social Security hasn't been on the table for a while because of the public outcry against it. But typically small- government types like George Holding get behind moving public programs to the private sector. District 13 voters should ask George Holding where he stands on Social Security.