We join together in support of the right of Americans to Social Security, a promise made to Americans of all generations.
Social Security represents the best of American values – rewarding work, honoring our parents and caring for our neighbors. Social Security was established because American workers demanded it. Social Security belongs to the workers and their families who have worked hard, paid taxes in, and earned its benefits.
Due to a loss of employment, wages, private savings and pensions, Social Security has become more important than ever. It is a legacy we are committed to passing on to future generations. In this, Social Security’s 75th Anniversary year, we are united in support of the following principles
1. Social Security’s financing is sound, now and into the future. For 75 years, working Americans have paid into the system. Their contributions have both supported benefit payments and built a $2.6 trillion Trust Fund. Social Security did not cause the federal deficit and benefits should not be cut to reduce the deficit.
2. Social Security has stood the test of time. It should not be privatized in whole or in part.
3. Social Security is an insurance policy and as such should not be means-tested. Workers pay for this insurance, and they and their dependents are entitled to it regardless of their income or savings.
4. Social Security provides vital protection to Americans of all income levels against the loss of wages as the result of disability, death, or old age. Those benefits should not be reduced in any way, including changes to the cost of living adjustment or to the benefit formula.
5. Social Security’s retirement age, already scheduled to increase from 66 to 67, should not be raised further. Raising the retirement age constitutes a benefit cut. The present age limits already impose a hardship on Americans who work in physically demanding jobs or those unable to find or keep employment.
6. In order to modernize and strengthen benefits and assure long-term stability for future generations, Congress should act to eliminate the earnings cap on contributions.
7. Social Security’s benefits should be strengthened and modernized to reflect the dignity of all work regardless of income, to better cover health and care costs, and to improve fairness. This can be accomplished by: changing the benefit formula to replace a higher percentage of low earnings; providing a care-giving credit for at least 5 years; guaranteeing elderly survivors 75% of the couple’s benefit; and allowing benefits for state-recognized same-sex couples and family members.