Issue Position: Social Security & Retirement Security

Issue Position

I am working to safeguard our commitment to current and future generations by protecting the promise of Social Security and Medicare, and supporting pension protection and expanding personal savings incentives for all Fifth District workers.

Protecting Social Security. Social Security is one of the most successful domestic programs in our nation's history. But, it is not just a government program. It's a contract between the government and American workers. For seventy years, this vital program has provided basic economic security that families could rely on in times of need and has meant independence for generations of Americans. While it was never envisioned to be the sole source of a person's retirement, without it, those who rely on it would have no safety net. Forty-seven million Americans receive Social Security benefits and over one million Massachusetts residents rely on Social Security. I am absolutely committed to strengthening Social Security so that our national contract with America's workers endures for generations to come.

Furthermore, I strongly object to the Bush administration's proposal to privatize Social Security and oppose diverting any amount of the payroll taxes into private, individual investment accounts. Private individual accounts take money from the Trust Fund and compromise its solvency. Privatization shifts risk off the broad shoulders of government and onto individuals alone, which is not an acceptable solution. We should not be replacing a guarantee with a gamble. I will continue to stand against efforts to privatize Social Security and will work to ensure that this guaranteed benefit will be available the next generation.

Finally, I am a proud cosponsor of the Social Security Fairness Act which would ensure that dedicated firefighters, police officers, teachers, and other public servants are no longer deprived of a portion of their Social Security benefits each year as a result of the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. This important legislation enables affected public servants to receive, in full, the Social Security benefits that they have rightfully earned throughout the course of their careers.

Pension Reform. From Enron to airlines, we've become all too familiar with corporate irresponsibility that has left thousands of workers without the retirement savings they were counting on and to which they contributed. This has compromised confidence in our nation's ability to provide retirement security. Congress must strengthen pension laws to protect American workers. This is especially important as companies' look for ways to avoid pension programs. In Congress, I will support programs to expand and improve existing retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, so that American families can realize the power of compound interest while retaining Social Security's guaranteed benefits.