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Delaney Seeks Solid Social Security

March 24th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

On March 24, 2015 Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) filed the Social Security Commission Act of 2015 with Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4). The legislation is designed to find a solution that guarantees the long-term health of Social Security, bringing together both parties in coordination with the President. The legislation mandates 75 year solvency for Social Security.

“Social Security is one of the most successful government initiatives ever, keeping millions of seniors across decades out of poverty,” said Congressman Delaney. “I’ve filed legislation to create a new bipartisan and bicameral Social Security Commission tasked with protecting and preserving Social Security for decades to come because I believe that this program is too important to ignore. To make my personal views on Social Security clear, I have released my Statement of Principles on Social Security. For the long term health and effectiveness of Social Security I would increase revenues coming into Social Security and expand benefits for those most in need.”


Delaney Statement of Principles to Preserve and Protect Social Security

 By any measure, Social Security is one of the most successful government initiatives in our nation’s history and is a vitally important program for millions of Americans. For decades, Social Security has made our country stronger. For most Americans, Social Security’s modest benefits will be the only source of retirement income that is guaranteed to last a lifetime and keep up with inflation. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Social Security keeps over 20 million Americans out of poverty. My top priority is protecting and preserving Social Security.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has made clear that due to demographic changes, Social Security will become unable to pay full benefits starting in 2031, the program’s actuaries peg that date at 2033.  If we do not any take action in the interim, at that time, it is estimated that we will have to drastically reduce benefits by over 20%. I firmly believe that letting this happen would be immoral.   

We must be diligent in having the facts guide our policy-making. While the need for changes is irrefutable, many have inflated the threat or exaggerated the nature of the problem. In truth, modest calibrations to the program now can save Social Security for generations to come.

Social Security is not broken or insolvent. Social Security is not a pyramid scheme. Social Security does not need to be privatized. But the program does need some calibration to secure benefits long-term.

I believe that any adjustments to Social Security must be grounded in a sense of justice and fairness, with special consideration given to our most vulnerable.

We have a clear historical precedent for amending Social Security in order to preserve the program in a fair, just and fiscally sound way. The bipartisan commission led by Alan Greenspan in 1983 is a model that we should follow, which is why I have introduced legislation with Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) to start this process again.

My desire to create a commission is rooted in my view that we need good process in government.  To avoid a massive benefit reduction and keep the promise of Social Security alive, I recommend the following improvements in accordance with progressive values.  Other proposals that have been made, including those by the Simpson-Bowles commission, go modestly too far in restricting benefits and not far enough in creating additional funding.

  • Increase the taxable maximum and add a second threshold for very high-incomes so that wealthier Americans pay a little bit more into the system. Right now, a very high income and a middle class earner can contribute the same amount to Social Security.  
  • Improve the benefits formula so that recipients with modest incomes receive higher payments through strengthening the special minimum benefit and/or other means.
  • Enhance benefits for the very old, the majority of which are women, so that our neighbors who need the program the most can maintain a decent standard of living. 
  • Adjust the inflation calculation to reflect more accurate price changes, including special consideration for the very elderly and those who rely on Social Security for a long period of time.
  • Value caregivers by providing those who care for a dependent relative without monetary compensation credit under Social Security’s benefits computation.
  • Respect all marriages by ensuring legally married same-sex couples have access to spousal benefits. 

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