THE CRITICAL NEED TO UPDATE SOCIAL SECURITY!!!
PASS THIS AROUND TO YOUR FRIENDS AND POST ABOUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA IF YOU HAVE PARENTS OR RELATIVES!
The late Robert M. Ball, the longest serving commissioner of Social Security, began his Social Security career in 1939 and was involved in all major reforms from that time until his death in 2008. He defined the fundamental structure and principles in the landmark essay, “The Nine Guiding Principles of Social Security.”
Both in the essay and throughout his long, storied career, Mr. Ball explained that changes to Social Security have and always should occur “within a framework consisting of nine major principles. Social Security is universal; an earned right; wage-related; contributory and self-financed; redistributive; not means-tested; wage-indexed; inflation-protected; and compulsory.”
The members of this Coalition subscribe to each of those guiding principles. We oppose proposals to means-test Social Security, change it into a defined contribution plan, or cut its dedicated premiums and substitute an open-ended draw on the general fund for its financing. These and similar ideas are contrary to Social Security’s underlying structure, principles, and values.
✓ SOCIAL SECURITY IS A SOLUTION AND SHOULD BE EXPANDED.
Expanding social security is a solution. It provides retirement, disability, and life insurance to nearly all of America’s working families more efficiently, securely, and universally than its private sector counterparts. Social Security lifts millions of Americans, including over a million children, out of poverty and reduces the depth of poverty for millions more. Expanding Social Security is key to addressing many of our nation’s most pressing problems, including the retirement income crisis, growing income and wealth inequality, and the financial squeeze on working families.
When signing the Social Security Act of 1935 into law, President Franklin Roosevelt explained, “This law… represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete.” Consistent with that incremental approach, survivors’ and spousal protections were added in 1939, long-term disability insurance was added in 1956, and Medicare and Medicaid were added in 1965. No additional risks have been added since then, though. It is well past time to build on the strong cornerstone laid down in 1935 and address additional risks that result in lost wages and increased expenses.
✓ SOCIAL SECURITY IS A VEHICLE FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE. EXPANDING IT WILL MAKE IT EVEN MORE SO.
Social Security is designed to disproportionately benefit low-wage earners, including people of color, women, those with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and others who have suffered discrimination. Moreover, because those discriminated groups are less likely to work in jobs that provide supplemental pensions, they are even more reliant on their earned Social Security benefits than white, non-Hispanic men, on average. Expanding benefits both across-the-board and in targeted ways can cause our Social Security system to be an even more important and effective vehicle of social and economic justice.
✓ ALL REFORMS OF SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD GO THROUGH REGULAR ORDER, IN THE SUNSHINE.
Social Security is an extremely important issue that touches everyone’s lives. It should only be modified in the sunshine, subject to the full Congressional process known as regular order, with open hearings, Committee consideration with the ability to amend, and full debate on the floor of each chamber with the ability to amend. That is what has been done historically and that is what should be done in the future. Opponents of Social Security often try to use bipartisan commissions to fast-track Social Security legislation that would force through unpopular changes. Should that happen, it would be a major disservice to current and future beneficiaries.
Americans’ earned protections are under threat by continued, harsh cuts to the operating budget of the Social Security Administration (SSA). These cuts are occurring despite the fact that the services provided by SSA have already been paid for by the American people.
Cuts to SSA’s budget have already forced the agency to close field offices, reduce staff and office hours, and freeze hiring—resulting in increased wait times and deterioration’s in SSA’s world-class services. Further reductions will greatly limit SSA’s ability to administer benefit payments while also maintaining critical services to the public. To ensure that SSA can continue to provide Americans with the world-class, in-person services they deserve and have paid for, cuts to the agency’s operating budget should be reversed, and Congress should allow SSA to restore and expand the vital services it provides to the American people.
The critical changes that you must ask your elected officials to make are:
1. Changing how your COLA is calculated
Congress must change how cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are calculated to better reflect seniors’ costs. Social Security currently uses the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which excludes households that don’t have at least one person working. That means many retirees are left out. Compared to working-age people, retirees on average spend a higher share of their incomes on medical and housing costs, both of which rise faster than inflation.
Congress should be told to use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which measures costs for older Americans. Using the CPI-E would only increase COLAs by 0.2 percentage points in an average year. Had the 2021 COLA been calculated based on the CPI-E, it would have been 1.5% instead of the 1.3% beneficiaries will receive, though the impact could be more meaningful when compounded over time.
2. A minimum benefit if you worked 30 years
Congress must be told to provide a minimum benefit of 125% of the federal poverty level for people with low lifetime earnings who worked at least 30 years. Based on the 2020 federal guidelines for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, someone with a 30-year work record would get a guaranteed monthly benefit of about $1,329. According to a Penn Warren Budget Model analysis, such a plan would also increase benefits by anywhere from 5% to 50% for a small group of people who worked between 10 and 30 years.
3. A higher benefit after 20 years
Congress must be told to increase benefits by 5% for people who have received benefits for 20 years or more. The bonus would be phased in at 1% per year, starting with the 16th year of benefits. The goal is to boost payments for Social Security’s oldest recipients because they have been forced into exhausting their retirement savings.
Contact your elected officials at this link to tell them to do these things: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials/