Saxby Chambliss on Social Security
Republican Sr Senator; previously Representative (GA-8)
A: Several legislative attempts have been made to address this issue by giving the notch babies a choice of either receiving lump sum payments totaling $5,000 or an improved benefit computation formula under a new 10-year rule; or by amending the Social Security Act with respect to the benefit computation formula for the notch babies.
Sen. Chambliss strongly believes we must ensure that individuals receive the benefits they earned and deserve. A 1994 commission found that although ‘Notch Babies’ do receive slightly lower benefits than workers born before them, they do receive a fair return for their taxes. Accordingly, Sen. Chambliss is not a cosponsor of any legislative fix to alter the current formulation for recipients born during these years.
A: There is concern that the CPI-W may underestimate the inflation experience of the elderly population, because the elderly spend relatively more on health care. However, some practical considerations in implementing a CPI change exist, such as how much of a difference having a separate price index for the elderly would make. For example, if the primary purpose of developing a separate index is for social security, not all social security recipients are elderly.
Further, having a separate price index may introduce a number of complications. For example, should that new index be used to adjust income tax brackets of elderly taxpayers?
Sen. Chambliss does not feel a change to the formulation in which COLA benefits are currently indexed is required.
A: In 2001, a bipartisan presidential commission made three recommendations to improve the Social Security program. All three proposals included some form of voluntary personal retirement accounts that would allow younger generations to build their own retirement savings outside of Social Security, while at the same time protecting and preserving benefits for today’s seniors and those near retirement.
As Congress begins the debate on how to address Social Security’s pending financial problem, please know that Sen. Chambliss will not support any proposal that does not give a 100% guarantee that all current and future beneficiaries will receive their benefits. Sen. Chambliss will also support a proposal that makes the current system solvent and allows younger workers to voluntarily build their own nest egg for their retirement security, which they would own & be able to pass on to their children and grandchildren.
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.
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The Senior Citizens Fairness Act:
Raise the Social Security earnings limit, which currently forces seniors out of the workforce; repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security; and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years.
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