And it works. Before Social Security, 50 percent of older Americans were living in poverty. Now, its 10 percent.
Social Security is more than retirement. It covers you if something goes terribly wrong a financial crisis, loss of a spouse or parent, or disability. It protects you whether you are a 25-year-old starting your career, like my daughter, or a 78-year-old retiree, like my Mom.
There are misconceptions about Social Security. Here are the facts:
Nearly every working American including me pays into Social Security.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Social Security can pay 100 percent of its commitments through 2052. After that, it will be able to pay 80 percent of benefits owed. We know Social Security faces long-term challenges, and I intend to be part of the effort to strengthen it for the long term.
But privatization is not the answer, because the numbers just dont add up. In fact, the administrations plan doesnt do one thing to ensure the long-term security of Social Security.
Privatization will require cutting benefits by one-third or more even for those who choose not to participate in privatized accounts. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the average retiree can expect to lose more than $152,000 in benefits over a 20-year retirement.
The administrations privatization plan also includes a privatization tax that reduces benefits by up to 70 percent or more. Essentially, as the government would initially lend workers the money to open a private account, they would require you to pay it back with interest when you retire, thus imposing an additional tax and reducing your Social Security benefits.
Beyond its deep benefit cuts, privatization would add $5 trillion in debt over 20 years. Much of that money would be borrowed from countries like China and Japan, which already hold half of Americas foreign-owned debt.
Our country now faces the largest budget deficit in our history. Taking on even more debt could destabilize financial markets, drive up interest rates, and stifle economic growth. All that Americans will own under privatization is nearly $17,000 in additional debt the amount of new debt each man, woman and child will be responsible for if we privatize Social Security.
We must reject privatization schemes that just dont make sense. We need to work together; there are small things we can do now that will have a big impact in strengthening Social Security. We also must develop innovative ways to promote savings, so more Americans can save for their future.
You can help. Visit my web site at www.stabenow.senate.gov/socialsecurity to sign my petition to reject privatization and to use my Social Security calculator to see how the Presidents privatization accounts would affect your benefits.
Together, we can keep the security in Social Security.