Oct 19 2004

Graham Statement on Senator Kerry and Social Security

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the follow statement on Senator Kerry’s (D-Massachusetts) refusal to offer a plan to modernize Social Security. Kerry made the comments in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Graham said: “The goal of any President, regardless of party, must be to achieve sustained solvency of Social Security. Anyone wishing to lead our nation should offer proposals to strengthen Social Security for future generations.” “President Bush has a plan to modernize and improve Social Security. He is working in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to Social Security’s impending bankruptcy.” “Senator Kerry, it is not enough to say what you are against. Please also tell us what you support. Failure to stand up and say what you support when it comes to saving Social Security is a failure of leadership.” “Millions of Americans rely on Social Security, and it is in trouble. Without presidential leadership the problem will continue to get worse and the political low road will be devastating for the future of the program.” “The politics of fear and distortion must give way to honest debate and real solutions. America deserves no less from those who want to lead this great nation.” #### Background on Social Security and Senator Lindsey Graham:
  • Without Social Security, millions of Americans who rely on the program for their retirement, disability, and survivor’s income would live in poverty.
  • Unfortunately, Social Security as it is currently structured faces serious financial problems. As former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) wrote in the Final Report of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, “… Social Security is in need of an overhaul. The system is not sustainable as it is currently structured.”
  • The Trustees of Social Security have warned us of the serious, structural problems facing the system. In 2018, for the first time in history, the program will begin to pay out more in benefits than it takes in as taxes. In 2042, the “trust fund” will be insolvent and unable to pay full benefits to retirees.
  • The problems facing Social Security are due in large part to demographic changes in the United States. In 1950, there were 16 workers supporting 1 retiree. Today, the ratio is 3 to 1. Within a generation, the ratio will drop to 2 to 1.
  • In just five short years, the first wave of baby boomers will be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Between 2011 and 2030, the number of Social Security recipients will increase 65 percent, while the working, taxpaying population will only increase 8 percent.
  • The combined shortfall in Social Security and Medicare is 5 times as large as all of today’s publicly held debt and 8 times as large as total federal spending in 2002.
  • To keep Social Security solvent in the future, we have three choices. We can raise payroll taxes by 50 percent, cut benefits by 30 percent or modernize the system though innovative reforms that include personal accounts.
  • The Social Security Solvency and Modernization Act introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) will put the system on solid financial footing by giving workers a choice of ways to balance the system.
  • The Graham plan makes no false promises – each option leads to solvency for the system.
  • The Social Security Solvency and Modernization Act reduces the cost of Social Security substantially and saves our children and grandchildren from a crushing financial burden.