Carl Levin on Social Security
Democratic Sr Senator (MI)
A: I believe that the Social Security notch is unfair, since some “notch babies” benefits are calculated on the basis of a less generous formula than some people born before the notch years. However, providing for a legislative correction on the notch issue would create a new unfairness for the people born subsequent to the notch years, thereby creating a new notch. In addition, such a measure would be very expensive.
I understand that the Social Security notch concerns many senior citizens and senior citizens are split on this issue. For example, organizations such as AARP actively oppose notch reform proposals because they feel notch reform threatens the stability of the Social Security Trust Fund.
A: The Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) indicator adjusts the Social Security COLA, in addition to the COLAs to the Civil Service Retirement System, Supplemental Security Income, veterans retirement benefits and railroad retirement benefits, as well as many other payments. The Social Security COLA not only impacts senior citizens, but also the 15% of Social Security beneficiaries that are under the age of 62 who are either disabled or receiving survivors’ benefits.
The CPI-E is one proposal that would change the indicator on which the Social Security COLA is based. However, many current studies have shown that these experimental indicators would not yield a significantly different COLA for Social Security beneficiaries.
I support a fair COLA and would consider legislation that considered fair and reasonable adjustments for those on Social Security.
A: Many experts believe Social Security is on sounder footing today than it has been for most of its 70-year history. Pres. Bush has proposed a plan to create private accounts. I believe doing so would erode the system. The stock market is unpredictable and privatizing Social Security would introduce uncertainty into the system creating winners and losers. Social Security would no longer be a guarantee for all Americans, but a jackpot for the lucky.
Social Security faces challenges, but it is not in crisis. As we work to address these challenges, the last thing we should do is cut Social Security’s revenues by diverting funds to private accounts, making the problem worse. Private market accounts take valuable resources away from the Trust Fund.
In the 1980s, we needed to make adjustments to the Social Security System and did so on a bipartisan basis to help protect Social Security without creating risk. We should take this approach again.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Perhaps the worst example of wasteful spending is when we take the taxes people pay for Social Security and, instead of saving them, we spend them on other things. Even worse than spending Social Security on other things is we do not count it as debt when we talk about the deficit every year. So using the Social Security money is actually a way to hide even more wasteful spending without counting it as debt. This Amendment would change that.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
This amendment has a fatal flaw. It leaves the door open for private Social Security accounts by providing participants with the option of "pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits."
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
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Senate elections Nov. 2012:
CA:Feinstein(D) vs.Emken(R) vs.Lightfoot(L)
DE:Carper(D) vs.Wade(R) vs.Pires(I)
HI:Hirono(D) vs.Lingle(R) vs.
MD:Cardin(D) vs.Bongino(R) vs.Sobhani(I)
ME:King(I) vs.Dill(D) vs.Summers(R)
MI:Stabenow(D) vs.Hoekstra(R) vs.Boman(L)
NJ:Menendez(D) vs.Kyrillos(R) vs.Diakos(I)
NY:Gillibrand(D) vs.Long(R) vs.Noren(I) vs.Clark(G)
TX:Cruz(R) vs.Sadler(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.
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