By Ralph McCutchen, Chairman, TREA Senior Citizens League
The Senate recently considered "guest worker" immigration legislation that could have very serious consequences for seniors - especially Notch Babies. Legislative action is underway, and TSCL has learned of an outrageous proposal that could "short change" the Social Security taxes needed to pay benefits of today's retirees, like you. That proposal would give "temporary guest" immigrant workers a lump-sum refund of their Social Security taxes when they return to their home country once their visas expire. This is like taking your retirement check to send across the border to an immigrant who is still of working age, and who simply returned home the way he's supposed to in the first place!
No workers who move out of the country are entitled to a refund of Social Security taxes, even if they are legal, native-born U.S. citizens. Under our pay-as-you-go system, Social Security taxes of today's workers are used to pay the Social Security benefits of today's retirees. Because there would be less tax revenues left in the system, this guest worker immigration proposal could trigger across-the-board benefit cuts for current retirees.
The proposal is a slap in the face to tens of millions of law-abiding U.S. senior citizens, including Notch Babies and their families. TSCL and Notch Babies are urging Congress to pass "The Notch Fairness Act," (H.R. 368). The legislation would provide a choice of a $5,000 lump-sum payable over four years, or an improved monthly Social Security benefit. Notch Babies, seniors born from 1917 through 1926, receive lower Social Security benefits than other retirees with similar work and earnings records. Many of you have persistently supported efforts for a Notch correction for years.
It's up to us to tell Congress to halt "guest worker" immigration and to say NO to ill-conceived proposals that would short-change the revenues needed to pay your benefits. It's past time for Congress to say YES to "The Notch Fairness Act!" Some government economists point to legal immigration as a means of shoring up Social Security, saying more workers mean more payroll taxes are being paid into the system. Sending Social Security tax refunds across our borders totally negates any promised short-term benefit, and threatens to destabilize Social Security for us all. Please contact your Members of Congress by clipping out this bulletin and sending it with your letter or fax!