Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Notes from Alicia Maluafiti's talk February 28, 2005 - The Truth about Social Security - AARP's Message

Message One:  No Immediate Danger
Social Security needs to be strengthened now for our children and grandchildren, but the solution shouldn't be worse than the problem.
    · Social Security is in no danger of going "broke". The Social Security trust funds hold over $1.5 trillion in Treasury bonds and earn interest every year. Without changes. it can pay 100% of benefits well into the 2040's and over 70% after that. But that is not acceptable. We have an obligation to current and future generations to make sure that benefits will be there when they are needed-that's why it is our responsibility to advocate for Social Security reform, not to dismantle it.

Message Two:  Private accounts that drain money out of Social Security will cut guaranteed benefits while passing the bill to future generations.
    · As a program that provides much needed benefits to over 44 million Americans, we cannot afford to drain money out of Social Security which will put at risk the guaranteed benefit people rely on and which will force our children and grandchildren to shoulder an unfair burden-that is why it is our responsibility to advocate for true Social Security reform.

    · The "unfair burden" for our children and grandchildren comes in the form of two bills:  one where they have to pay off the debt needlessly incurred during the transition to private accounts and secondly, where they have to save more to deal with the loss of secure guaranteed benefits. 

Message Three:  By making sensible changes now, we can honor our obligations to all generations
    · In order for us to honor our obligations, we must focus our reform on sensible, workable and efficient solutions that can make a real and lasting difference for all generations. Congress should consider options like raising the cap on the amount of wages  from today¹s  $90,000 to approx. $140,000. 

    · Including all  state, federal and local government workers. 

    · Investing part of the surplus so that it earns higher returns than those offered by treasury bonds. 

This last gave rise to spirited objections and discussion as playing into the hands of those wanting to privatize.