Statement by Nan Hayworth on the 75th Anniversary of Social Security
Social Security represents the aspiration within the American character to do right by our neighbors and our fellow citizens. When Social Security was signed into law 75 years ago, our government was prepared to finance the program responsibly. Much has changed during the intervening decades to create an ever greater role for Social Security, and that in turn demands that we anticipate future needs so that we can continue this program that is critically important for tens of millions of Americans.
Our most pressing obligation is to assure that the benefits that have been promised to those receiving them today, and that are anticipated by those who will soon be eligible, will be reliably financed. In the early days of Social Security, more than 40 workers were paying into the system for each beneficiary. Today there are only 3 workers per beneficiary, and unemployment continues to grow in a sagging economy. In addition, the Social Security Trust Fund has been raided repeatedly for other government spending, which means that its future soundness depends upon the nation’s ability to pay back the Treasury bond “IOUs” it currently holds. Some people fear significant changes in Social Security, such as “privatization,” and it’s important to know that we can preserve benefits without mandating a radical restructuring.
Instead, it’s imperative that we preserve Social Security by reviving our private sector, and that begins by taking a growing federal government off the backs of the employers and businesses that are the source of our economic strength. I’ve proposed immediate suspension of the massive new national health law that is already penalizing employers for hiring, and I repeat that call today. I call as well for the permanent extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts; for elimination of the estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax; and for reduction of capital-gains and corporate taxes. We need to keep dollars out of the massive tax-and-spend government system and allow them to remain in free enterprise, so that Americans can renew the robust economic growth that has enabled generations to rise from poverty to prosperity.
We can put Social Security on a sound footing by doing what we’ve always done best as a nation: working together to realize the dream and potential of a free people.