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Barbara J. Easterling

Barbara J. Easterling

Posted: May 28, 2010 04:54 PM

Keeping Social Security's Promise

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This August will be the 75th anniversary of Social Security, a milestone for one of our nation's greatest accomplishments. We should feel tremendous pride at what we have done to help Americans stay out of poverty in their retirement years.

But as we reach this landmark anniversary, there is a new commission in Washington that is looking to lower the federal budget deficit -- and their second meeting was this week.

My generation doesn't want a national debt to be the legacy we leave behind to our children and grandchildren. However, the commission is stacked with commissioners hungry to slash Social Security.

Wait a minute ... we have put billions in payroll taxes into the Social Security Trust Fund. Social Security is not responsible for the national budget deficit and the American public knows it.

Part of our country's deficit problem is that the government has borrowed $2.6 trillion from the Social Security Trust Fund and will need to pay it back -- not the other way around.

Social Security can pay beneficiaries in full until 2037 once its loan is paid back. After that, the vast majority of benefits can continue to be paid -- or full benefits with minor adjustments to the equation.

This is clearly not just a retiree issue, but retirees have a practical awareness of the lifeline that Social Security provides to millions.

Young people in the work force work hard and contribute to the system that promised some assistance in retirement, disability and survivorship. In such unstable economic times, with declining pensions, personal savings and home values, Social Security is increasingly important for younger generations.

We must stop any cuts in Social Security. But more than that, we must also use this opportunity to bring people of all ages together to lay out effective ways to strengthen Social Security for our children and grandchildren.

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