FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2011
AARP Urges Finance Committee to Reject Cuts To Social Security For Deficit Reduction
WASHINGTON—AARP today submitted written testimony for the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on deficit reduction and Social Security. AARP recognizes the serious challenges that the nation's deficit and debt present, but believes that the hard earned Social Security benefits of millions of Americans should not be cut to reduce the deficit or as part of a budgetary exercise.
As members of the committee and their colleagues consider ways to reduce the federal deficit, AARP is fighting to ensure arbitrary cuts, caps or triggers do not jeopardize the health care and retirement security of America’s seniors and future retirees. As a part of its ongoing efforts, the Association announced last week a new initiative to protect benefits older Americans have earned through years of hard work from proposals that would cut Social Security and Medicare in the name of deficit reduction or to raise the debt ceiling.
Excerpts from AARP’s statement to the committee follow:
“AARP believes that the nation’s long-term debt requires attention and we are committed to lending our support to a balanced approach that addresses the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. However, older Americans recognize that Social Security is a self-financed program that has run surpluses for nearly 30 years and has not contributed to our large deficits.”
“Americans who have contributed payroll taxes over a lifetime of hard work into Social Security have earned their benefits, and the Trust Funds, like any other creditor, should be paid back the money it lent to the federal government in order to provide the workers who contributed a greater measure of financial security in their retirement years.”
“The debt held by the Social Security Trust Funds is a real obligation of the United States to its own people, and the American people, like any other creditor, expect that the money borrowed from them by the government will be paid back. If Congress chooses to not pay back the Trust Funds obligations and defaults on the U.S. Treasury bonds, then this will be a true “raid” on Social Security.”
“AARP generally opposes proposals that result in arbitrary, across-the-board, spending cuts that fail to distinguish between different types of spending and would take a meat ax approach to governing. In this regard, we are opposed to subjecting Social Security to sequestration procedures that serve to enforce spending caps.”
“Social Security is currently the principal source of income for nearly two-thirds of older American households receiving benefits, and roughly one third of those households depend on Social Security benefits for nearly all (90 percent or more) of their income.”
“Given the already modest benefits current Social Security beneficiaries receive, the program’s continued critical importance to future generations’ income and retirement security, the system’s dedicated financing, and the lack of a contributory impact on our current large deficits, AARP firmly believes that Social Security should not be targeted for cuts for deficit reduction or as part of a budget exercise to satisfy arbitrary spending thresholds.”
“More importantly, in the face of declining pensions, shrinking savings, falling home values, and longer life expectancies, Social Security deserves to have its own national conversation that focuses on preserving and strengthening the retirement security of Americans and their families for generations to come.”
Details on AARP’s latest effort in the ongoing fight to protect Social Security and Medicare can be found here: www.aarp.org/protectseniors.
For a complete copy of AARP’s statement for the record, please contact AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560 or email@example.com.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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