One of my main focuses in Congress is protecting, preserving, and reforming Social Security. Social Security provides critical benefits to more than 50 million Americans, including widows and those with disabilities. It is a critical foundation of income for retired and disabled workers – nearly two-thirds of the elderly get at least half of their income from Social Security. One in five elderly Americans has no income other than Social Security.
Social Security must be preserved and protected for current and near retirees. We must preserve the Social Security safety net and make sure it remains solvent for future generations.
Though long foreseen, a “perfect storm” has emerged over the years that threatens the solvency of not only the Social Security system, but the federal government in general. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), about 47 cents of every federal dollar spent went to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the federal debt. Absent action, Social Security – along with these other programs – will soon grow to consume every dollar of revenue that the government raises in taxes. At that point, we will be left with no good options.
People are living longer. The “baby boomers” have begun to retire. Health care costs are skyrocketing. As a result of these issues as well as our still-struggling economy, in 2010, for the first time since 1983, Social Security experienced a cash flow deficit, which has continued each year since. Social Security has fallen into permanent deficit. According to the most recent Social Security Trustees' report, beneficiaries will face a painful 23 percent benefit cut in 2033 when the Trust Funds are exhausted.
All of these issues surrounding Social Security demonstrate the urgent and growing problems with its solvency. In order to preserve the program, we must enact responsible reforms sooner rather than later. I believe it is crucial for Congress to examine ways to provide long-term solutions for the problems that currently plague the system. Social Security needs to be reformed to address its deficits. I believe that seniors must receive the benefits they have been promised and have planned for during their working years. Congress should work to preserve the benefits that those at or near retirement have planned their lives around, while also guaranteeing that future generations have the ability to plan for their eventual retirements.