Three weeks ago, the Social Security Administration made a quiet announcement.
Next year, for just the third time since 1975, seniors who receive Social Security won’t be getting an annual cost of living increase. Neither will millions of other Americans whose veterans’ benefits, disability benefits, and other monthly payments are pegged to Social Security.
Two-thirds of retirees depend on Social Security to pay for the basics, to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads – but seniors who usually get a small boost on January 1st won’t see an extra dime next year. That’s why today, I’m introducing the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act – a one-time payment equivalent to a Social Security benefits increase of 3.9%.
Help us show Congress that America’s seniors and veterans need a boost on January 1st. Sign up right now to show your support for the SAVE Benefits Act.
Why give seniors and veterans a 3.9% Social Security boost? Well, times are tough for America’s seniors – but they aren't tough for everyone. According to recent data, CEOs at the top 350 American companies received, on average, a 3.9% pay increase last year.
But here’s the kicker: taxpayers like you subsidize huge pay packages for CEOs through billions of dollars in giveaways, including a crazy loophole that allows corporations to write off obscene executive bonuses as a business expense for “performance pay.”
Our new SAVE Benefits Act would give seniors and veterans a benefits boost without adding a single penny to the deficit simply by closing that performance pay loophole. In fact, closing that tax loophole would create enough revenue to give seniors and vets this 3.9% emergency boost and still have money left over for the Social Security Trust Fund to help extend the life of Social Security.
Think about what this change would mean. A one-time 3.9% Social Security payment is worth about $581 a person next year – a little less than $50 a month. For someone barely scraping by on a $1,250 Social Security check each month, $581 would cover almost three months of groceries, or a year’s worth of out-of-pocket costs for a Medicare beneficiary’s prescription drugs. According to an analysis, that little boost could lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. That’s a big deal.
This is about choices. We have the money to do this – only right now that money goes to fund a loophole that benefits corporate CEOs. We could use exactly that same money to help out seniors and vets – and make the Social Security system more stable. For me, it’s pretty straightforward: Our spending should reflect our values.
So let’s just do it. Let’s close the loophole and let’s use the money to give seniors and vets the support they need on January 1st. Sign up now to show Congress that America supports the SAVE Benefits Act.
Three weeks ago, the Social Security Administration made a quiet announcement.
80 years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law – and it was in large part thanks to a remarkable woman from Massachusetts: Frances Perkins.
Frances Perkins was FDR’s Secretary of Labor – the first woman in US history to hold a cabinet position. Coming out of the Great Depression, she was a chief architect of the New Deal, and we can thank her for the 40-hour workweek, the minimum wage, and unemployment insurance. She was also the head of the Committee on Economic Security, which created the blueprint for Social Security. God bless Frances Perkins.
FDR and Frances Perkins established Social Security because, as FDR said, “It [would] take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.” In other words, Social Security would be a win-win: good for our nation’s economy and good for the citizens of our nation.
They knew that Social Security was about economics, but it was also about our values. It’s about who we are as a people, and what kind of country we are determined to build.
Today Social Security is under attack. The Republicans 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.
Join me today – on the 80th birthday of Social Security – to take a stand: We believe in protecting and expanding Social Security so our seniors can retire with dignity.
80 years later, we need Social Security more than ever. People are hitting their retirement years with less savings and more debt. Pensions are disappearing, being replaced by 401(k) plans that leave retirees at the mercy of the stock market. The squeeze on America’s middle class is now a squeeze on America’s retirees.
Social Security benefits are modest – just $1300 a month, on average – but two-thirds of America’s seniors rely on those checks for the majority of their income. For 15 million seniors, Social Security is all that stands between them and poverty.
Social Security is about independence and dignity. It’s no surprise that 79% of likely voters in last year’s election – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – support increasing Social Security benefits. Every person who represents you in Washington, and every person running for President in 2016, should be talking about protecting and expanding Social Security – not cutting it.
FDR and Frances Perkins knew that you don’t get what you don’t fight for. So today, I’m fighting hard to make sure we don’t cut a dime of Social Security benefits. I’m fighting to protect and expand Social Security – and I hope you’ll fight alongside me.
Let’s take a stand for America’s seniors: Sign our petition to protect and expand Social Security so that, when the time comes, every person can retire with dignity.
Decades after Social Security was established, Frances Perkins told the Social Security Administration:
Social Security is so firmly embedded in the American psychology today that no politician, no political party, no political group could possibly destroy this Act and still maintain our democratic system. It is safe. It is safe forever, and for the everlasting benefit of the people of the United States.
Let’s fight to make good on Frances Perkins’ promise by protecting and expanding Social Security.
Thank you for being a part of this, and a special thanks to Frances Perkins – a tough woman with a vision. Happy birthday, Social Security!
People face a lot of challenges when they try to save for retirement, but one of the biggest challenges lurks mostly out of sight.
How do you know when a retirement advisor or broker is doing what’s best for you, and how do you know when they are just doing what’s best for them?
Many retirement advisors recommend investments that work best for the customers they work for. But some don’t. Those advisors and brokers recommend investments based on what’s best for them – and what fees, bonuses, free vacations, cars, and other kickbacks the advisor can earn from selling a lousy product.
Today I joined President Obama and Labor Secretary Tom Perez to call for more transparency and stronger rules to make sure the retirement advice you receive is always in your best interest. Join us in saying that it’s time to fix this broken system.
Numerous studies, including some from Harvard and MIT, have found that some advisors consistently steer customers to the highest fee products – despite the fact that high fee funds don’t perform any better, and often perform worse, than low fee funds. And the worst part? For large portions of the retirement market, it’s perfectly legal to push these lousy investment products.
That makes it really tough for unsuspecting customers who could lose thousands – or hundreds of thousands – of dollars in retirement savings when they fall into the hands of the wrong advisor.
And it makes it really tough for the thousands of honest advisors and brokers who already put their clients first. Right now they have to compete against the unethical advisors who don’t. That’s not a level playing field – it’s a broken system.
Today, we begin to fix it. Today, we begin to stand up for the millions who are trying to set aside some money for a decent retirement. And today, we begin to stand up for the honest retirement advisors who are working hard to help them.
Join President Obama and me in saying it’s time to do what we should have done years ago: it’s time to end the bonuses, the fees, the free vacations, the fancy cars, and the other incentives to sell bad products to unsuspecting customers – and to ensure that all of our retirement advisors, not just some of them, are looking out for the best interests of the people they serve.
My brother David has always had the special spark in our family.
Like our two older brothers, David served in the military. When he got out, he started a small business -- and when that one didn't work out, he started another one. He couldn't imagine an America where he wasn't living by his wits every single day.
Year after year, my brother paid into Social Security. He never questioned it. He figured he was paying so that he -- and a lot of other people -- could have a secure retirement.
Today my brother lives on his Social Security. That's about $1,100 a month. $13,200 a year.
I'm telling you my brother's story not because it's unusual, but because it's like the story of so many other people. I can almost guarantee that you know someone -- a family member, friend, or neighbor -- who counts on Social Security checks to get by.
That's why I was shocked to hear that the President's newest budget proposal would cut $100 billion in Social Security benefits. Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled inch by inch.
The President's policy proposal, known as "chained CPI," would re-calculate the cost of living for Social Security beneficiaries. That new number won't keep up with inflation on things like food and health care -- the basics that we need to live.
In short, "chained CPI" is just a fancy way to say "cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans."
Two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income; one-third rely on it for at least 90% of their income. These people aren't stashing their Social Security checks in the Cayman Islands and buying vacation homes in Aruba – they are hanging on by their fingernails to their place in the middle class.
My brothers and I grew up in an America that invested in its kids and built a strong middle class. An America that allowed millions of children to rise from poverty and establish secure lives. An America that created Social Security and Medicare so that seniors could live with dignity.
We can't chip away at America's middle class and break the promise we make to our seniors.