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Al Franken on Social Security

DFL Jr Senator (MN)


I’ll scream if Republicans ever try to privatize again

I’ll work to guarantee the retirement benefits our workers have earned.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, “Issues” , Mar 9, 2008

Raise the cap on income subject to the payroll tax

Let's say you want to play it safe. You still have plenty of options for ways to achieve solvency. The most popular one is to raise the cap on income subject to the payroll tax, known as FICA, after the Federal Insurance Contribution Act. Right now, the cap is at $90,000, meaning that if you make $180,000, you pay FICA on only « your income. Everyone earning UNDER $90,000 pays payroll taxes on every dollar they make.

Polls consistently find that more than 2/3 of Americans favor getting rid of the cap entirely. Another strategy is to raise the cap to $120,000, or $150,000. Or the Social Security Administration could invest part of the Trust Fund in stocks, rather than treasury bonds, which would introduce a little bit of risk, but that risk would be shared by everyone.

Reasonable senators could sit down & solve the solvency problem in 5 minutes. Private accounts would do NOTHING to solve the solvency issue. Nothing.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.190-191 , Oct 25, 2005

Social Security was the greatest achievement of the New Deal

Social Security survived WWII, the Cold War, Vietnam, the sexual revolution, oil shocks, stagflation. No matter what America and the world could throw at it, Social Security just kept on ticking, sending out checks to delighted seniors, people with disabilities, and widows and orphans. Today, Social Security provides more than half the income for most of America's senior citizens. If it disappeared tomorrow, the poverty rate among senior citizens would jump from 8.7% to 46.8%. By almost all accounts, Social Security was the greatest achievement of the New Deal, and perhaps the greatest achievement of any kind in human history.

But why did it need saving? Because there was a crisis looming. In 2042, a mere 37 years hence, Social Security would be "bankrupt," "flat broke."

The solution to this crisis? Driving a stake through the heart of the program by transforming it from a system of shared protection into a glorified IRA. Plus cutting benefits.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.184 , Oct 25, 2005

Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".

Franken co-sponsored Resolution on CPI

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION expressing the sense of the Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) should not be used to adjust Social Security benefits.