Social Security reflects the best of America’s values. It promises all Americans that if they work hard and play by the rules, they can retire and live in dignity. Social Security is not a handout. It is a benefit that Americans earn, by working and paying into the system.
Social Security has been a remarkable success. Today, roughly ten percent of America’s seniors live in poverty. If not for Social Security, that figure would be nearly 45 percent of all seniors.
Opponents of Social Security often try to create the impression the program is in crisis. That simply is not true. The Social Security Trust Fund has sufficient assets to pay every penny of benefits for the next twenty years. In fact, even after that point, in the unlikely event that Congress takes no action, the trust fund still would bring in sufficient resources to pay about three quarters of promised benefits.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have fought hard against plans to privatize or otherwise weaken Social Security. Be assured that I will continue to do what I can to support the program and to protect it from those who would seek to undermine it. Social Security represents a trust between the government and hard working Americans who contribute in good faith, and that trust must never be violated.
Saving Social Security from Privatization
Unfortunately, instead of strengthening Social Security, many in Washington have focused on privatizing the program. I strongly oppose privatization, which would weaken Social Security, not strengthen it. Most privatization proposals would require very deep cuts in benefits and trillions of dollars in new debt. Much of this borrowing would come from foreign countries like China and Japan, further increasing our nation’s dependence on foreign creditors. This huge new debt would pose unnecessary risks to our economy, and threaten to slow growth and lead to large tax increases in the future.
Some have argued that privatized accounts are a way to address Social Security’s long term problems. The truth is, such accounts actually make matters worse, not better. These accounts would drain money from the Social Security Trust Fund, cut funding that the program needs, and accelerate Social Security’s insolvency. That is the last thing we should be doing. At a time when fewer workers have the security of a defined benefit pension plan, the importance of Social Security has never been more clear. That is why it is so critical that as Congress considers any related legislation, we work to strengthen the program, not undermine it.