Press Release from Congressman Bobby Bright's Office:
As the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act approaches, Congressman Bobby Bright made the following statement in opposition to the privatization of Social Security:
"It is hard to imagine what would have happened if plans to privatize Social Security had already been in place during the financial crisis of 2008. In addition to the countless friends and family who saw their retirements and pensions drastically reduced, millions of seniors could have lost the safety net Americans have enjoyed over the last 75 years. An already terrible economy would have reached depression-levels. I am not willing to let this happen in the future and that's why I will oppose plans to turn over seniors guaranteed benefits to the same people on Wall Street who got us into the crisis in the first place.
"My opponent and I have a distinct policy difference on this matter. I believe that we must do everything in our power to make sure that Social Security is solvent and available to all Americans. My opponent supports a budget which would privatize Social Security . We must examine ways to ensure the long-term solvency of what has become the ultimate contract between generations, but turning a program that is so vital to our seniors over to the inherent risks of the stock market is the wrong approach.
"While in Congress, I have worked to protect and support our greatest generation. When we learned last year that seniors would not get a cost-of-living-adjustment for Social Security, I co-sponsored the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly Act. This legislation will change the formula by which COLAs are calculated so it better reflects the actual costs seniors face. And recently, I co-sponsored the Seniors Protection Act of 2010, which will provide seniors and disabled veterans a one-time payment to make up for any shortfalls in the event that no COLA is awarded in 2010.
"These are real, honest solutions that will help those who have worked hard to provide for families and prepare for their retirements. I would encourage those currently in Congress or those seeking the office to explore these solutions before supporting drastic cuts and privatization to the programs on which millions of seniors rely. I have talked to seniors in Southeast Alabama about how important Social Security is in helping them make ends meet. That is why I will continue to oppose these efforts and look for real, commonsense solutions to ensure Social Security is solvent for another 75 years."
According to the Social Security Administration, 133,945 people in the Second District received Social Security benefits in 2007. 60% of seniors rely on Social Security for more than half their income and the average benefit for a retiree is $14,000 a year. Even without changes, the Social Security Trust Fund will be solvent until 2037, and after which payroll taxes will be sufficient to cover 75% of benefits. Changes will have to be made, but wholesale privatization or drastic reductions in benefits are hardly warranted.