Retirement Security

  • I would oppose measures to replace any part of Social Security’s guaranteed benefits with individual investment accounts.
    • SS benefits are already being eroded, and current projections with Part B deductions show SS replacement rates will have fallen by 31%.
    • In only two generations, the ability to provide replacement income has fallen 25%. Replacing these guaranteed benefits with risk-bearing investment accounts will further place the people of the 15th at risk.

  • I would oppose efforts to reduce Social Security benefits.
    • The graduated increase in retirement age from 65 to 67 reduces the benefits for those who choose to retire at age 65.
    • Medicare premiums are also increasing more rapidly than benefit increases.

  • It is important that any restructure or recalculation of benefits does not reduce benefits, as more people owe personal income tax on their benefits.
    • Due to the insufficiencies throughout the 15th District rural health care network, any increase in the retirement age would do great harm to our people.
    • Too many seniors have to choose between medications and food, and the COLA isn’t keeping up with monthly bills.
    • The benefit formulas are complex and include many factors, including length of time working, earning history, inflation, and age at which one begins receiving benefits.
    • Changing these formulas must be backed by proper actuarial studies and done to strengthen benefits, not to weaken them.
    • Lastly, means testing is not appropriate considering that benefits are earned and are not an entitlement.

  • I support measures to strengthen Social Security benefits.
    • Traditional sources of retirement income are providing less and less support for retirees.
    • Social Security income replacement rates have been falling steadily since 1985, a trend that is projected to continue and even accelerate.
    • Employer-sponsored retirement plans have mostly transitioned from defined benefit plans to 401(k)s, shifting risk from employers to employees.
    • Participation rates in 401(k) plans among eligible employees remain at about 80 percent, with about 20 percent of eligible employees electing not to participate.
    • Access to these plans is an issue—less than half of all private sector workers, ages 25–64, participate in an employer-sponsored pension plan.
    • The need to strengthen retirement income security exists. Any plan to strengthen benefits must include an appropriate, long-term plan for funding the benefits.
    • Many options to increase retirement savings are worthy of further consideration.
      • Examples include raising the cap on taxable payroll, better informing future beneficiaries about their retirement income options, and using opt-out instead of opt-in enrollment for employer 401(k) plans.

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