On 80th Anniversary, Progressives Call for Expansion of Social Security

63rarCo-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement celebrating the 80th anniversary of Social Security.

“For 80 years, the promise of Social Security has delivered a secure retirement and vital disability support to countless Americans. This is an investment that we all share, and it ensures that every American is treated with the dignity they deserve after a lifetime of work.

“Eight decades after these earned benefits began; the need for Social Security is greater than ever.  Stagnant wages, a shift from defined benefit pensions to less secure individual 401(k) and IRA accounts, and growing income inequality have made it difficult for working families to put aside the savings needed for a secure retirement.  With more Americans relying on Social Security as a primary source of retirement income, it’s not a surprise that 61 percent of Americans believe the current benefits are too low. By expanding benefits and requiring the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in payroll taxes, we can secure the program’s future and help American families adapt to this new economic reality.

“But instead of working to protect and expand the promise of Social Security, Republicans continue their efforts to erode, privatize, and undermine the program despite its overwhelming success and popularity.  Despite the fact that Social Security has a $2.8 million surplus and can pay full benefits until 2033, Republicans are threatening to use a manufactured crisis to cut Social Security Disability Insurance benefits by 20 percent in 2016.  An attack on one component of Social Security is an attack on the program as a whole, and an attack on the millions of people who rely on it. The Progressive Caucus stands united with Congressional Democrats in our commitment to protect Social Security and to expand its promise to guarantee the future of every American.”