Social Security across the GenerationsNovember 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.