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The Library of Congress - Thomas
United States Senate



Social Security

Senator Akaka is a strong supporter of the Social Security program. Social Security has been our nation's most successful and effective retirement and anti-poverty program. It has provided a degree of retirement security for seniors with an inflation protected income source. As a family insurance program, Social Security has protected individuals with disabilities, surviving spouses and children against unpredictable events and financial hardships. For a majority of those age 65 or older, more than half of their income is derived from Social Security benefits and one-third of Social Security beneficiaries receive survivors benefits or disability insurance. Financial impacts on children have been tempered more from Social Security than any other government program.

Social Security is essential to the retirement security of women. Fifty-seven percent of adult beneficiaries are women. Many women dedicate considerable number of years raising children or serving as caregivers for elderly parents, spouses, or other relatives. As a result, they are less likely to work in jobs offering pension plans or have adequate resources to invest or save for retirement.

Senator Akaka is opposed to radical proposals to undermine fundamental principles central to the Social Security program. Privatization undermines the social insurance proposition of the Social Security program and changes it into an investment program. Under privatization, the guaranteed defined benefit social insurance safety net becomes a defined contribution retirement gamble, and I oppose privatizing the Social Security program.

Social Security must not be weakened by privatization proposals that would cut benefits and divert payroll contributions to private accounts. Advocates of privatization never talk of the risks involved in private accounts, the impact to beneficiaries, or the fact that establishing such a program will cost trillions of dollars, increasing the federal deficit. Privatization turns a guaranteed benefit into a gamble.

Senator Akaka believes that Social Security can be strengthened without cutting benefits by alternatives that encourage higher rates of savings with benefits targeted to working and middle class families who need the help the most. Financial literacy education must be made accessible to all to encourage sound personal finance decision making and we must create programs to encourage Americans to develop retirement plans that complement Social Security's monthly defined benefit.

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