In August of 2010, Social Security will celebrate its 75th Anniversary. For 75 years Social Security has provided Americans with an earned, inflation-protected retirement benefit that will last a lifetime and has dramatically improved the economic status of older adults as the primary source of retirement income for most Americans.
However, with a focus on deficit reduction at the federal level, some leaders in Washington are talking about cutting Social Security benefits as a means of reducing the deficit. The reality is that Social Security has not contributed one dime to our nation’s debt – and, despite the economic crisis, the Social Security Trust fund continues to grow. The Social Security Trustees report that Social Security will be able to pay benefits on- time and in-full until 2037 and will be able to pay three-quarters of the benefits thereafter. The current $2.5 trillion Social Security Trust Fund is expected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2023.
Americans have put their hard earned dollars into Social Security and deserve to receive their promised benefits when they retire. AARP will fight any attempt made to unfairly balance the nation’s budget on the backs of older Americans by reducing promised Social Security benefits.
Instead of raiding the retirement funds of future generations by cutting Social Security benefits, Congress should focus on cutting waste, closing tax loopholes, and cracking down on earmarks and pork-barrel spending. AARP believes that any changes to Social Security should be made gradually and should ensure that:
- If you pay into Social Security, you will receive the benefits you’ve earned over a lifetime of hard work.
- Your Social Security benefit will keep up with inflation for as long as you live.
- If you become disabled and can no longer work, you will receive a benefit. And, if you die, it could help to protect your family.
- You continue to have access to a decent early retirement benefit if you need it.
Finally, any changes to Social Security should be discussed as part of a broader conversation about how to help Americans prepare for a secure retirement, especially as other sources of retirement income – such as pensions, savings, and home equity - have been crumbling over the past decade.
As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Social Security, AARP will remain vigilant and monitor the activities of the federal Deficit Reduction Committee to ensure that the financial interests of those 50+ are protected.