Social Security across the Generations

November 01, 2011

In the few months I’ve been participating in the AAUW Action Fund Lobby Corps, we’ve twice lobbied members of Congress to support bills that heighten the solvency of the Social Security system and ensure that it is not lumped into the deficit debate. Both times, congressional staff members have commented on my age and asked why I, as a young woman, care about Social Security.

I care because Social Security is the program through which Americans support each other across generational divides. I care because my grandmother relies on Social Security and because my dad isn’t far from retirement age. I care because I pay into the system every two weeks, and if certain members of Congress get their way, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will be targeted as part of the deficit reduction plan, reducing benefits for millions of Americans.

On Wednesday, several Democratic representatives held a press conference to announce their opposition to reducing Social Security as part of deficit reduction. Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), John Olver (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Janice Hahn (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), and Hansen Clarke (D-MI) gathered on the Capitol lawn to express their joint message: Hands off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid!

The members asserted that deficit reduction must be addressed by putting Americans back to work, not by disproportionately burdening seniors, women, and the middle class.

The current Social Security system is more than just a retirement program; across its lifespan, it has been one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in our nation’s history, providing benefits to many children, disabled workers, surviving spouses, and retirees.

As a member of a generation whose Social Security future is already not so secure, I think that protecting the Social Security system for seniors, women, children, and the multitude of others who benefit from it is the best way to ensure that Americans continue caring for each other across the generations.

This post was written by AAUW Public Policy Intern Katie Donlevie.

By:   |   November 01, 2011

3 Comments

  1. erinprangley says:

    Great job Katie! We all need to take action like Katie! The No Loopholes in Social Security Taxes Act (H.R. 797) would gradually lift the cap so that by 2033, the wealthiest 6 percent of Americans will pay the same percentage of their income into Social Security as the rest of us. This plan would extend the full solvency of Social Security for the next 75 years, ensuring that the program continues to help provide retirement security for future generations. Click here to send a message to your representative: http://capwiz.com/aauw/home/

  2. Ruth Berry says:

    And while we are working on retaining Soc. Sec,, we need to continue urging congress to repeal the WEP and WFO acts which have greatly penalized many retirees and widows.

  3. Carly EngageAmerica says:

    The way in which the program functions now is unsustainable and changes need to be made sooner rather than later. Currently Social Security and Medicare use 8.5% of nonentitlement revenues (federal revenues dedicated to all other programs besides the two). By 2020, the deficits will grow to almost 25%. This means that within 9 years, in order to pay projected benefits to retirees and the disabled, the federal government will have to stop doing about one out of every five things it does today (http://eng.am/poetWU).

    All of the following solutions will substantially eliminate these problems: Reducing benefit payments by 5% AND increase the retirement age to 70 over time; increasing both the employee and employer contribution immediately by 1.1% for income up to $106,800 (its current limit); reducing benefit payments by 5% AND increase both the employee and employer contribution immediately by 0.05% each year for the next 20 years for income up to $106,800 (its current limit); removing the $106,800 limit and count all income towards the SS tax; decreasing the cost of living adjustment by 1% per year AND raise the retirement age to 67; or taxing income over $106,800 at 3%, index the retirement age to longevity AND decrease cost of living adjustment by 0.5% (http://eng.am/oTlck2).

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