En español | Social Security is a promise we’ve been able to keep for generations, thanks to the courage of many of our nation’s leaders. The question is, how will the 2016 presidential candidates keep Social Security’s promise for future generations?
When the leaders of both parties gather in Cleveland and Philadelphia for their party conventions starting next week, the presidential candidates will have a great opportunity to tell all Americans how they’ll update Social Security.
Keeping Social Security’s promise hasn’t always been easy, but the candidates can look to history to see how it’s done. The struggle to enact and improve Social Security took the leadership of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, who started the program, and Ronald Reagan, whose bipartisan efforts saved the program from fiscal ruin in the 1980s. They stood up to critics, bridged political divides, and fought off constitutional challenges to protect the retirement security of the middle class and help keep tens of millions of Americans and their families financially resilient.
Keeping Social Security’s promise for future generations demands that kind of leadership once again. We believe that anyone who thinks he or she is ready to be president of the United States should be able to tell voters how they’ll keep Social Security strong.
That’s why AARP is pressing the candidates to spell out their plans to keep Social Security’s promise alive for our children and grandchildren. Through Take a Stand, AARP has mobilized thousands of volunteers to press the presidential campaigns to make their positions clear.
We’ve seen outlines of Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s ideas, but so far, details have been scarce. takeastand.aarp.org.
See Also: Social Security in Action
Our plea to the candidates: Tell us more! Tell us how your plan would work, what it would cost, and whether it would adequately protect future generations. How would it affect different slices of the population? Is it fair?
These are the questions real leaders grapple with, and the American people deserve to hear the answers.
Given the divisions in American politics, it’s easy to see why people may question whether political leaders will rise to the challenge. But American voters expect the candidates to have the answers. In a recent AARP poll, 82 percent of voters 50 and older said a basic threshold for presidential leadership was having a plan for Social Security.
The Social Security trustees recently reaffirmed that the trust fund will run out of money in 2034 if no changes are approved. That means benefits for future retirees would be automatically cut by 25 percent a year. With every day that passes, finding solutions grows more difficult. The time to act is now. If our leaders don’t step up, future retirees could lose up to $10,000 a year.
Candidates, that’s your cue. As our nation turns its focus to deciding who will lead us for the next four years and perhaps beyond, tell us how you will keep Social Security’s promise for future generations. The 170 million Americans who are paying in to Social Security are eager to hear your answers.
Jo Ann Jenkins is CEO of AARP.
Video: Real Leaders on Social Security - 170 million Americans work hard and pay into Social Security. But the program is out of date. The next President needs the courage to make tough decisions to ensure it’s there for them.