By Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA)
Our nation faces an urgent crisis: as middle-class families increasingly are squeezed by stagnant wages and rising costs, the dream of a secure retirement is slipping away.
At a time when our country faces a real and growing retirement crisis, it is more important than ever that we take steps to protect and expand Social Security. Yet today, Social Security remains under attack. Republicans in Washington are doing everything they can to privatize and cut benefits for millions of seniors who rely on Social Security to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.
This is exactly the wrong approach. Social Security is about economics, but it is also about our values. It’s about who we are as a people, and what kind of country we are determined to build. Every person who represents you in Washington should be talking about protecting and expanding Social Security – not cutting it.
In 2016, seniors who depend on Social Security to make ends meet received no annual cost of living increase. Social Security is supposed to be indexed to inflation so that when prices go up, benefits go up too. But Congress’s formula isn’t geared to what older Americans actually spend. So even though the cost of core goods and services has gone up, seniors who are already struggling to scrape by to cover rent and exploding prescription drug prices, are scrambling.
That’s why I introduced the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act to give seniors on Social Security, veterans, and people with disabilities a one-time payment of $581 to help cover this gap. The bill is fully paid for by closing a tax loophole that allows corporations to write off obscene bonuses to top executives as business expenses for their taxes.
I’m going to keep fighting to pass this bill. I’m also going to continue working to strengthen and expand Social Security going forward. The fact is, Social Security has a $2.9 trillion surplus. If we do nothing, Social Security will be safe for the next 17 years. With some modest adjustments, we can keep the Social Security system solvent for many more years – and even increase benefits.
Seniors deserve a Washington that works for them, and every American should be able to retire and live with dignity. I’m committed to doing everything I can in the Senate to ensure that happens.
The opinions expressed in “Congressional Corner” reflect the views of the writer and are not necessarily those of The Senior Citizens League.