To Save Social Security, Logical Reforms Needed
George Allen, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, writes on the challenges facing Social Security in the years ahead.
Throughout my public service, I’ve understood that leadership is about setting priorities and then finding others to agree on accomplishing those goals for the people of Virginia. As Governor, I worked with a legislature controlled by Democrats to set priorities from reforming education to cutting taxes to establishing welfare to work to better help people succeed in life. And I believe that is the same kind of leadership we need in Washington today to strengthen Social Security for future generations.
This week, my opponent Tim Kaine published an opinion article on Social Security. There are areas in which we agree, including that Social Security is a crucial part of our nation’s commitment to securing seniors’ provision and protection from poverty. We agree that Social Security is not a handout but a program people have paid into their entire working lives, and we must ensure that Social Security provides them the benefits they have earned.
But the Social Security program faces significant challenges that require proven leadership to work with both parties for real solutions to preserve this vital program for future generations. Since 2010, Social Security has been paying out more in benefits than it receives in taxes. President Obama’s own fiscal reform commission (Simpson-Bowles) warned that “Unless we act… demographic changes will bring the Social Security program to its knees [and] the benefits currently pledged under Social Security are a promise we cannot keep.” The 2012 Social Security Trustee Report estimates that the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year.
To protect the viability of Social Security for future generations, we cannot ignore simple logical reforms to address these issues. Political games aimed at distorting records and tarring ideas for constructive solutions are irresponsible and unfair to the people. We need civil engagement as the basis of any efforts to save Social Security.
One of the most important things we can do to protect Social Security is to work together to get our economy moving and create jobs. More Americans working means more Americans paying into Social Security.
Further, Americans should have additional freedom to choose to invest their hard-earned dollars for their retirement security.
In his opinion article, Tim Kaine goes to great lengths to blame others and provides no solutions for Social Security, but we do know where Tim Kaine stands on Medicare. Unfortunately, as national chairman of the Democratic Party, he was a vocal advocate of the health care tax law he called a “great achievement” and proclaimed it “would be a great thing politically for the Dems.” A recent Congressional Budget Office report revealed the law could take over $700 Billion from Medicare to help pay for it.
Virginians deserve better. That is why I am running for the U.S. Senate. I bring a proven record of bipartisan work and landmark reforms to the office and will be the voice of seniors and hard-working Americans for the benefits they have earned.
When I was Governor we removed the Virginia tax on Social Security benefits, saving Virginia taxpayers millions of dollars and helping older citizens on fixed incomes live more comfortable and secure lives. This is a far different approach than my opponent who tried to raise taxes on people earning as little as $17,000 a year and is now proposing raising the payroll tax cap, which would increase taxes on working people and small business owners.
This election is our opportunity to choose our future. We can embrace a path of positive solutions or follow the tired demagoguery of false accusations and scare tactics leading to failure.
As my father Coach George Allen would say, “The future is now.” I hope you’ll join me in choosing an American Comeback on November 6.
George Allen is the 67th governor of Virginia and a candidate for U.S. Senate.