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Updating Social Security

Location: Washington, DC

UPDATING SOCIAL SECURITY -- (House of Representatives - April 27, 2005)

Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I want to make a couple of points. Number one on the compounded interest, at one of my 16 Social Security town meetings, a woman from Douglas, Georgia, came up to me and said, as I got a little older, in 1989 I started saving $200 a month. Compounded daily, that money is now worth $320,000. That is the miracle that Einstein was talking about.

I also wanted to bring out one point here. We focus so much on solvency, but there is also a generational fairness issue, and that is best shown if we think about somebody retiring in 1980, they got all of their money out of Social Security in 2.8 years. If you retire in 2003, it will take you 17 years to get your money back. If you retire in 2020, it is worse than that, it is more like 21 years. One of the things that we have is a solvency challenge, and we also have a generational fairness challenge.

Finally, I want to make the point that we are Republicans. We are the majority. It is going to be a little more difficult because we have to govern and come up with ideas. And it is easier if you are in the minority party to just sit back and criticize and live out there and tell people there is no problem with Social Security. The reality is we need and we want Democratic ideas. I think Social Security should be bipartisan and it should transcend the next election, and you should get the best ideas of the Democrats and of the Republicans, and move forward with the best.

I was disappointed to learn that the meeting which some of us are going to be participating in tomorrow, the bipartisan meeting, now the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi) has said to her Members that they cannot go to it.

And I think of the bipartisan meeting that we are going to have with the AARP, an equal number of Democrats, equal number of Republicans, that we now only have two Democrats who are going to go even though others said, yes, we will go, this time works for us.

So I am hoping that the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi) and the Democrats will back off their extreme obstructionist position and allow Members to sit down and negotiate with the other party and try to come up with ideas, because that kind of partisanship, that kind of silliness, that kind of bitterness is not going to help our seniors and our future generations.

So I am looking forward to this meeting. I know the gentlewoman from Kentucky (Mrs. Northup) is going. I do not know if all of my colleagues here are going or not, but we would like to have everybody in attendance there.

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