Sep 08 2004

Graham Statement on Senator Kerry’s Opposition to Personal Investment Accounts Becoming Part of Social Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on Senator John Kerry’s opposition to creating personal investment accounts as an addition to Social Security. Kerry made his comments in Cincinnati, Ohio. Graham said: “Preventing the impending bankruptcy of Social Security is one of the greatest challenges facing our nation. Unfortunately, Senator Kerry has chosen to demagogue personal investment accounts and has failed to offer his own plan to save Social Security. “This issue is too important for politics as usual. Anyone wishing to lead our nation should offer proposals to strengthen Social Security for future generations. I hope Senators Kerry and John Edwards will offer a constructive solution to this problem. Without leadership the problems facing Social Security will only get worse. “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 from impending bankruptcy is a failure of leadership.” ##### 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.