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 one in ten of America's seniors live in poverty. If not for Social Security, that figure would be nearly 45 percent of all seniors.
Social Security faces long term challenges but, contrary to some claims, it is not in crisis. According to Social Security's nonpartisan actuaries, it will be fully solvent through 2033 and will be able to pay about 75 percent of the promised benefits after that, which will actually be more than beneficiaries receive today, even if no further congressional action is taken.
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
I also am concerned that privatization could require trillions of dollars in new debt to finance privatized accounts. Much of this borrowing would come from foreign countries like China and Japan, 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. As proposed by Representative Ryan, these accounts would have drained money from the Social Security Trust Fund, cut funding that the program needs, and accelerated 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, and most Americans have suffered substantial declines in their retirement savings, the importance of Social Security has never been more clear. That’s why it is so critical that as Congress considers any related legislation, we work to strengthen the program, not undermine it.
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