FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560, firstname.lastname@example.org
AARP members have strong opinions about private investment accounts that would drain funds from Social Security. A half million Congressional contacts have been made since January to express these concerns, the Association announced today. The 500,000th call came from Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Michael A. Donio of Allentown told Rep. Charlie Dent that he should say no to private accounts that will take money out of Social Security. He said he doesn't want to burden future generations with federal debt. "I know how important Social Security will be for future generations. Private accounts that will take money from Social Security make the problem worse. Congress needs to forget about private accounts and get on with the debate about Social Security solvency."
Donio's call was typical of the half million contacts to Members of Congress that have come through AARP's toll-free phone number and website since the beginning of the year, said David Certner, AARP Federal Affairs Director. "Most callers discuss three concerns: they don't want money taken away from Social Security for individual, private investment accounts; they want Social Security strengthened so it can continue to pay full benefits; and they want an honest national debate about possible ways to shore up the system."
A recent poll conducted in early March found that six in ten (59%) AARP members opposed the idea of diverting up to $1,300 of their Social Security taxes into a private account. After learning more about the effects of private accounts, opposition rose to as high as 75%.
Many of the half million contacts with Members of Congress were triggered by AARP's recent ads that listed an 800# and urged readers to call their legislators. Others came from readers of AARP The Magazine and the AARP Bulletin. Two thirds of the contacts were by phone, one-third by e-mail.
"These half million contacts were just those we could count because they came through our phone lines and website," said Certner. "Tens of thousands more AARP members have written letters, met their Members of Congress at events in their districts, and called or e-mailed directly to express their opposition to private accounts funded from Social Security. "Protecting Social Security elicits a passionate response, and AARP will continue educating our members about Social Security and various options for strengthening and reforming the program to meet the needs of beneficiaries." "It's time for a vigorous dialogue on sensible changes to assure Social Security's promised benefits for our children and grandchildren. We welcome specific solvency options from all parties. Creating private accounts that drain funds from Social Security would cut guaranteed benefits while passing the bill to future generations," said Certner.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, www.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.