by U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, NC-02
Seventy-five years ago this month, after much debate and negotiation, Social Security was passed by Congress and on August 14, 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into the law of the land.
On its Diamond Anniversary, I want to take a moment to call my North Carolina neighbors’ attention to the significance of the passage of the Social Security Act because today it serves as a lifeline for millions of Americans of all ages and continues to play a vital role as a measure of protection against complete poverty, especially for our nation’s seniors.
However, Social Security is not solely for seniors. About one-third of beneficiaries are not seniors, but children, survivors and people with disabilities. Social Security provides benefits to over four million children and lifts more children out of poverty than any other effort .
Social Security is as important today as it has ever been for working families.
Here at home, Social Security has played a central role in improving the quality of life for North Carolina’s seniors in both rural and urban communities. Some folks in Washington, D.C. have proposed radical ideas to reduce Social Security benefits or take money out of Social Security and gamble it on Wall Street. I will always fight to preserve these benefits because they are a key promise of keeping our middle class vibrant, even into old age.
Americans support keeping Social Security strong and plan to take advantage of it in old age. In fact, a recent national survey released by AARP shows that three in four (76%) adults age 18+ rely on or plan to rely on Social Security for their retirement income, including a large majority (62%) of younger adults age 18-29. The survey also showed a strong majority of those polled oppose reducing Social Security benefits for deficit reduction (85%). Economists and other experts also tell us that Social Security will be solvent for at least another 50 years, but that is not an excuse for complacency. Congress needs to remain focused on stabilizing the economy, positioning our states for job creation and job growth so that more North Carolinians can bolster their savings to work with Social Security to live out a safe and thriving retirement.
The story of America’s strong and vibrant middle class is linked with the creation and growth of Social Security. This is indeed a testament to the true measure of America and our commitment to our seniors and their survivors. I will continue working to support Social Security so North Carolina’s middle class families can count on it for another 75 years.