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For the Next Generation

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the problem of Social Security’s long-term solvency was still there, gnawing at us for a bipartisan solution.

Sadly, rather than come to the table to work on a bipartisan solution, the GOP doubled down on their “my way or the highway” approach, launching another attack against these safety-net programs. In 2008, Republicans on the House Budget Committee crafted the first version of what they dubbed a “Roadmap for America’s Future,” which included the very same reckless experiments that voters rejected, like a proposal for giving workers private accounts for investing more than a third of the payroll taxes that would have gone into Social Security. In 2011, the Republicans in the House passed a budget that called for $1.7 billion in cuts to Social Security’s operating budget, which would have decreased services to seniors and led to delays in receiving benefits. Fortunately, congressional Democrats were able to restore that funding in the final version of the bill. It seems House Republicans had forgotten the message that voters sent in the 2006 mid-term election that Social Security must be protected. Americans have witnessed the chaos that’s occurred on Wall Street over the last several years, the way major financial institutions went hog-wild for subprime mortgages, crashing the international economy. What rational person wants to put all of their eggs in one basket, trusting Wall Street with all of his or her retirement money over a program as stable and successful as Social Security? Indeed, the Los Angeles Times reported in August 2012 that “the crash of 2008 would have stripped nearly 60 percent from retirement investors’ stock portfolios.” The Social Security Administration follows investment mandates that reap a dividend of about 4.4 percent, derived from U.S. securities backed by the Treasury. In the investment industry, these are widely considered the safest vehicles available in the world. If we allow people to make their own investment decisions on what would then be their own accounts (the amount they’ve contributed to Social Security through taxes), they might just do very well. But they might not. Playing the market is a tricky business, full of temptations to invest in riskier vehicles. Performing one’s

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8/24/13 1:15 AM

For The Next Generation (Ch. 1)  

Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz challenges the nation to resolve tough issues for future gene...

For The Next Generation (Ch. 1)  

Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz challenges the nation to resolve tough issues for future gene...