Social Security, a hard-won achievement of the New Deal, is the only thing standing between many American seniors and poverty. We must reject attempts to delay retirement, reduce benefits, and privatize this public treasure.
Social Security has been often and wrongly called a “Ponzi scheme” by Wall Street operatives because current beneficiaries rely on contributions from current workers. Indeed, Social Security relies on the health of the US economy. Yet it has continued to function with a surplus despite decades of economic decline. In the robust economy made possible by the program outlined here, Social Security will continue to deliver at improved levels for America's seniors, widows and disabled for many decades into the future.
UFAA supports the seven principles of Strengthen Social Security:
- Social Security has a surplus of $2.6 trillion, which it has loaned to the federal government. Social Security did not cause the federal deficit. Its benefits should not be cut to reduce the deficit.
- Social Security, which has stood the test of time, should not be privatized in whole or in part.
- Social Security is insurance and should not be means-tested. Because workers pay for it, they should receive it regardless of their income or savings.
- Social Security is fully funded for more than 25 years; thereafter it has sufficient funds to meet 75 percent of promised benefits. To reassure Americans that Social Security will be there for them, Congress should act in the coming few years outside the context of deficit reduction to close this funding gap by requiring those who are most able to afford it to pay somewhat more.
- Social Security’s retirement age, already scheduled to increase from 65 to 67, should not be raised further. That would be a benefit cut that places the greatest hardship on older Americans who are in physically demanding jobs, or are otherwise unable to find or keep employment.
- Social Security, whose average benefit was $13,000 in 2010, provides vital protection against the loss of wages as the result of disability, death, or old age. Those benefits should not be reduced, including by changes to the cost of living adjustment or the benefit formula.
- Social Security’s benefits should be increased for those who are most disadvantaged. The benefits, which are very important to virtually all workers and their families, are particularly crucial to those who are disadvantaged.