As Congress turns its attention from health care to economic issues, there is a greater focus on the nation’s deficit and the future of Social Security, which turns 75 years old in August. On June 26, several cities across the nation, including Jackson, MS, held conversations about the federal budget and the choices that should be made to reduce the nation’s deficit. Social Security was one of the topics addressed. AARP reminded Americans that Social Security did not contribute to the deficit and that the program plays an important role in the financial and retirement security of millions of Americans.
“Our nation’s deficit will undermine the economic security of future generations if left unaddressed,” said AARP Executive Vice President John Rother. “However, we believe any proposed changes to programs or the tax code must look at the impact on real people, not just on projected budget numbers. For example, some in Washington want to reduce the deficit by cutting Social Security benefits. But Social Security is itself vital to the economic security of most Americans today and future generations, and it hasn’t contributed a single dime to the current deficit. So weakening Social Security would hurt our children and grandchildren – the very people we need to protect.
Today, nearly 53 million Americans of all ages receive Social Security benefits, and for over half of older Americans, Social Security is their principal source of family income. Social Security also provides vital disability and life insurance protections for American workers and their families. Benefits are modest, averaging only $14,000 for retirees. The program provides a secure foundation for retirement income with guaranteed inflation-protected lifetime benefits they can count on every month.
“Social Security is financed separately from the rest of government with payroll contributions Americans make over their working lives,” Rother said. “It has built up a very substantial trust fund so there is time to make gradual adjustments to improve its finances over the long run. Any effort to change Social Security should focus on strengthening the program so that future generations will be able to continue to count on their earned benefits, and so that all Americans can enjoy a measure of future economic security. “
AARP encourages a national dialogue and action to bolster retirement security for all Americans, including strengthening the Social Security program and creating more opportunities to save in the workplace.
For more information, visit aarp.org.
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