Saturday, August 21, 2010

Assorted Statements on Social Security's 7th Anniversary

I've been remiss in posting statements issued on social security's 75th anniversary. Here you go:

Congressman Paul Kanjorski:

“For 75 years, Social Security has provided a retirement safety net for millions of Americans to help them after they have worked for a lifetime. In Pennsylvania, there are currently over 2.5 million beneficiaries of this needed program and we must make sure that they and their children can continue to depend on it. I strongly believe that we must work to further strengthen Social Security as a safety net for all Americans.

“During these difficult economic times, too many people have seen their retirement savings, which they worked so hard to create, dissipate. Social Security has stepped in and remained a consistent source of income for retirees, even when their savings, pensions, and 401ks diminished.

“Proposals a few years ago from President Bush and many Republicans to allow individuals to invest some or all of their Social Security funds in the stock market were ill-conceived responses to try to change Social Security. And now, the Republican Budget Committee leader also wants to privatize Social Security. Such actions could have had disastrous outcomes today. Had privatization taken place, Americans’ Social Security would have also felt the harsh consequences from the recession. As the foundation of our retirement system, Social Security cannot be allowed to gamble away Americans’ savings.

“Additionally, I am committed to ensuring that the cost of living adjustment for Social Security recipients more accurately reflects the costs that many seniors incur. The cost of living adjustment determines the annual increase that seniors receive with their Social Security checks based on inflation. But, the rate of inflation often does not take into account that seniors tend to spend more money on out-of-pocket expenses for medical care and prescriptions drugs, and that health care prices tend to increase faster than other costs. I have supported legislation to make the Social Security cost of living adjustments more accurately mirror the costs that seniors incur. We must protect our seniors and guarantee that they receive the full amount of Social Security that they deserve.

“Social Security is based on the premise that if you work hard and play by the rules, that you will receive some stability and security when you retire. The pledge made when this program started 75th years ago is still in effect today and will be for generations to come.”

Congressman Joe Sestak (candidate for senate):

This Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of the passage of the Social Security Act. U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak released the following statement to commemorate this milestone:

"Three quarters of a century ago, our nation made a commitment to stand with our seniors," said Joe. "Today, almost 60 million Americans depend on Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income. Congressman Toomey wants to endanger Social Security by gambling the savings of our seniors on Wall Street. This would be a windfall for Wall Street banks, which would rake in enormous fees, but could be disastrous for Pennsylvania's seniors who spent their lives paying into the system. We owe it to future generations to preserve - not privatize - this legacy."

Joe supports efforts to credit Social Security revenue to the Trust Fund, which has been created to preserve the funding for its intended purpose, rather than the General Fund, which allows the resources to be used in other ways. He would establish a Social Security "Lock Box" policy, which would prevent diversion of funds from Social Security for other programs.

Meanwhile, Congressman Toomey has called for portions of the Social Security system to be placed in the hands of for-profit banks and investors. Under Toomey's plan, workers would maintain investment accounts on Wall Street instead of paying into the trust fund, exposing our nation's retirement savings to the risks of the market. [Morning Call, 08/28/02]

The Toomey record:

* Voted to privatize Social Security to put retired workers' retirement security at risk based on the volatility of the market [HR 2590, 7/25/01, #273] and wanted to threaten Social Security to create risky Private Accounts [Morning Call, 8/28/02]
* Failed to protect Social Security by voting against securing Social Security and Medicare before spending our budget surplus [HR 1259, 5/26/99]
* Voted to raid Social Security to pay for President Bush's out-of-control budgets [H Con Res 353, 3/20/02, #79], taking over $200 billion in Social Security funds to pay for other programs
* Voted against creating a Social Security Reserve Account [H Con Res 95, 4/1/03, #95]
* Voted to restrict Social Security benefits by adding requirements for some workers to qualify for spousal benefits [HR 743, 4/2/03, #100]

Dr. Manan Trivedi, candidate for 6th congressional district:
Leading up to the anniversary of Social Security this Saturday, Manan Trivedi, Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, signed a pledge to keep the promise that President Roosevelt made to all generations of hard-working Americans 75 years ago. While his opponent, who has a poor record fighting for Social Security, was preparing for a fundraiser with John Boehner, Trivedi was proposing his solutions to begin down the path toward solvency for the Social Security trust fund and pledging to safeguard this essential program.

In the attached photo, Trivedi stands in front of the signed pledge as he answers questions from the residents of Golden Living Community, a Phoenixville nursing home.

“This legislation, which I see as one of the most significant acts of law, when it was passed 75 years ago, was a family insurance program,” Trivedi said. “It was designed to ensure, in a time when many worked dangerous jobs, that if you worked hard and put in your time, Social Security would be there when you and your family most needed it. It was a promise to all generations that they would not fall through the cracks, and that is a promise I intend to keep.”

Symbolic of the candidates’ stark differences on this issue, while Trivedi was making his pledge to seniors, Gerlach was on his way to dinner with the Republican House Minority Leader. Over the years, Gerlach has regularly voted against protecting the Social Security fund. This evening, John Boehner is hosting a high-dollar fundraising event for Gerlach. In June of this year, Boehner, whose job it is to craft and execute the Republican agenda, came up here to Pennsylvania to float the idea to means-test Social Security and raise the retirement age to 70.

“The leader of the Republican party came to our home state to float his ideas for breaking down the assurances Social Security gives,” Trivedi said. “And now, while I am here discussing this issue that is so important to our community, Congressman Gerlach is getting ready to take the money raised by John Boehner. It seems that after all those years in Washington, Congressman Gerlach has grown fonder of the Republican leadership than the people he is supposed to represent. He’s had a poor record on fighting to protect the Social Security trust fund, and Gerlach has shown that he'll do what it takes to stay close to his Washington friends and the money they bring."

To ensure the future of the trust fund, Trivedi laid out what he described as a good first move toward restoring and protecting the Social Security trust fund. Step one of his plan is to cut Washington off by stopping the federal government from borrowing against the Social Security trust fund, a practice they have been doing for years. The second step is to pay back all those borrowed dollars -- with interest.

“Washington may not like me for this, but this is the best way to keep the promise we made 75 years ago. The first step,” Trivedi said, “is to stop borrowing against Social Security. We cannot let Congress try to use Social Security as a piggy bank. Second, we must pay the Social Security trust fund back -- with interest.

“After Washington bailed out those big banks on Wall Street, they told them that they had to pay back those loaned funds with interest. Well, it’s time Washington learned to do the same thing.”

After he had laid out his proposal, Trivedi signed his name to a large placard that read “Manan Trivedi’s Pledge to Protect Social Security for Pennsylvania’s Seniors.” The pledge read:

I pledge to the people of the Sixth Congressional District of Pennsylvania and to the American people that I will work to strengthen and protect Social Security and fight all efforts to privatize Social Security.

I, Manan Trivedi, will oppose all efforts to privatize Social Security

I will oppose diverting any Social Security revenues to fund private investment accounts or substituting private investment accounts for any portion of Social Security's guaranteed benefits.

I will oppose any plan that includes cutting guaranteed Social Security benefits to finance private investment accounts or any plan that raises the retirement age.

I pledge to fight Social Security privatization plans and work for real solutions that strengthen Social Security for the long term.

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