The (Not So) New Deal—Still a Great Deal for Americans!

When the Social Security Act was signed in 1935, not even President Roosevelt fully understood the powerful legislation he was writing into our country’s history. Social Security has grown to become the backbone of America’s retired workforce and an effective anti-poverty and disability program.

Social Security is the safety net for nearly two-thirds of retirees, providing them with over half of their overall income. In fact, half of all Americans haven’t even been able to put away more than $10,000 towards retirement—further emphasizing the need for this program. 62 million Americans, or about 1 in every 6 residents collect Social Security, funding over 9 million jobs and $1.4 trillion in economic activity every year.

So if so many Americans rely on this fiscally-responsible program, why do some elected officials want to scrap Social Security? Some opponents say that the entire program is unsustainable, too expensive of an entitlement to put on the backs of the American Taxpayer—but that would be wrong. You’ve paid for it, it’s an earned benefit and we have to protect it.

With every paycheck, you’ve paid into the Social Security Trust Fund through FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act), meaning this is your money. Opponents funded by corporate money from wealthy individuals and groups like the Koch Brothers, The Heritage Foundation, Business Roundtable and the Yankee Institute wish to reduce benefits, cut COLAs, and privatize this historically public and successful program, doing so under the guise of “saving” Social Security.

CSEA agrees with Connecticut Congressman John Larson that, “The benefits Social Security provides for retirees, the disabled, survivors, spouses and dependents would simply be unavailable on the private market. If some calamity or misfortune strikes—a grievous injury, a tragic death—you deserve the peace of mind that you are part of a larger family: The United States of America”.

Congressman Larson’s plan would strengthen the Social Security Trust Fund to keep the program solvent beyond the next 75 years, into 2100 (as certified by the non-partisan Social Security Chief Actuary). And as the Congressman so aptly put, “For two-thirds of retirees who rely on Social Security for a majority of their income, there is not a Social Security crisis, there is a retirement crisis. That is why we must preserve and enhance the one program Americans have always been able to count on”.

Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 860) would have four major benefits:

  1. Gradual benefits increase of about 2% (the typical retiree would see an annual increase of about $300)
  2. Fair and reasonable COLA (a truer reflection of the actual cost-of-living increase retirees face each year)
  3. Tax cuts for 11 million working seniors
  4. A requirement for the millionaires and billions to pay their fair share of Social Security (over time, the cap on Social Security payroll taxes would be eliminated)

With Congressman Larson at the helm of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and over 200 cosponsors already on board, H.R. 860 has a real shot at passage. Hearings on this bill have already begun in Washington—a milestone in itself as Congress hasn’t held hearings on expanding Social Security for over 50 years!

While all five of Connecticut’s Representatives have already thrown their support behind Congressman Larson’s bill, it’s still paramount for CSEA members to develop strong relationships with our elected officials in Washington. By inviting all five of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation to meetings with CSEA members in their districts, we are offering our elected officials in Washington the opportunity to hear directly from active and retired public employees like you.

CSEA Members in Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts and beyond are also encouraged to solicit their Representatives if they have not already announced full support of H.R. 860.

Don’t wait until your hard-earned benefits are stripped away—join us now! Whether you are active or retired, protecting Social Security is an important fight for you to be involved in. Drew & Bernadette are working with the five congressional offices to schedule meetings starting in the summer and extending through October and are pleased that all five have expressed interest. Below, please find the meeting dates below for the majority of the Representatives (times are TBD); we will announce the remaining upon confirmation from their offices. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Drew at dphelan@csea760.com or 860-951-6614×118

Congressman John Larson on Social Security

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