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Social Security Is Not the Problem

AARP encourages Presidential Commission to focus on actual drivers of the deficit to meet its 2015 goal

WASHINGTON – AARP CEO A. Barry Rand released the following statement in advance of the second meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The Commission has been directed to find ways to reduce the short-term deficit by 2015:

"AARP is calling on the Commission to address the real drivers of the federal deficit to help restore confidence in our nation’s budget picture, and not unfairly target hard-earned benefits of millions of Americans.  Targeting Social Security for cuts will not close the budget deficit by 2015. Any changes needed to improve Social Security's long term solvency will be implemented over a longer time frame.

"For 75 years, Social Security has provided critical retirement and financial security for millions of older adults as well as children and those with disabilities. With the remaining retirement pillars—such as traditional pensions, personal savings and home values—crumbling, Social Security will play an even more important role in preserving the financial well-being of future generations. Americans can ill afford the 'social insecurity' that would come from unfair benefit cuts or risky proposals by this Commission that may put everyone’s retirement at greater risk.

"Social Security is not in crisis, and AARP believes that Congress should strengthen the critical benefits of the program sooner rather than later to ensure adequacy, equity and solvency for years to come. We must accomplish these goals under the context of enhancing retirement security for today’s and tomorrow’s retirees, not under the framework of reducing a deficit that Social Security did not cause. Social Security needs to be strengthened for future generations, but even with no changes, Social Security can pay out full benefits until 2037 and nearly three-quarters of promised benefits after that.

"Social Security is financed by money Americans contribute over their working lives. The program has been running a surplus that has been used to mask the true size of the overall federal budget deficit. Even in the midst of this volatile economy, the current $2.5 trillion Social Security Trust Fund continues to grow.  

"We look forward to working with the Commission to ensure that any deficit reduction proposals do not negatively impact the retirement and health security of current and future generations of Americans."

About AARP

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. 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 35.7 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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