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Rick Santorum took his fight for Bush's destruction of Social Security to PA's editorial pages today.  If anyone has listened to the Majority Report in recent weeks, you've surely heard by now Santorum-supporters chanting "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Social Security has got to go".  

Now, here it is from the horse's mouth (my apologies to horses):

As I traveled across the Keystone  State, I listened to the comments from hundreds of Pennsylvanians and made several observations.

First, it was evident that some individuals are using the current debate about the future of Social Security as an opportunity to mislead the American people. Unfortunately, some seniors are told that under reform proposals, their Social Security benefits would change.

Just who is using the current debate about the future of SS as an opportunity to mislead the American people?  Wouldn't be Mr. Santorum himself would it?; or Bush?;

The rest of the editorial is below the fold or here

Opinions
Strengthening Social Security
By U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Washington D.C.

Recently, I traveled to locations throughout Pennsylvania to have a discussion with Pennsylvanians, from seniors in high school to senior citizens, about their retirement and the need for Social Security reform.

As a senator representing the 2nd highest per-capita senior population in the country, chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy, and a member of the Special Committee on Aging, I take my responsibility of representing both current and future retirees in Pennsylvania very seriously.

Furthermore, as the father of six children, I want to ensure our kids have the same retirement security that current retirees experience.

As I traveled across the Keystone  State, I listened to the comments from hundreds of Pennsylvanians and made several observations.

First, it was evident that some individuals are using the current debate about the future of Social Security as an opportunity to mislead the American people. Unfortunately, some seniors are told that under reform proposals, their Social Security benefits would change.

It is important to understand that individuals born before 1950 will experience no change in their benefits as a result of reform. This includes current and near retirees, and those individuals receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

As proposals to strengthen and improve the Social Security system for future retirees are considered, I remain committed to preserving benefits for current beneficiaries.

The second observation I made was that several Pennsylvanians have dismissed the need to make changes to Social Security.

The longer we wait to put Social Security on secure financial footing, the more we jeopardize the retirement security of our children and grandchildren.

We are currently facing a perfect storm of demographic trends. Falling birthrates, increasing life expectancies, and the retirement of Baby Boomers in just three years have created a situation in which there will not be enough workers to support retirees, and our system will not be able to afford to pay full, or even nearly full benefits without reform.

When President Roosevelt created Social Security, our nation's demographics were considerably different. Life expectancy was much shorter -- it was lower than the retirement age at which benefits would begin to be paid. Thus, workers greatly outnumbered Social Security recipients.

Social Security is heading for insolvency--the longer we wait to fix the system, the more it will cost. Every year we wait costs an additional $600 billion.

Last year's annual, bipartisan Social Security Trustees report further highlighted the future insolvency of the current Social Security program: they project that if no changes are made, in just thirteen years the system will begin paying out more in benefits than it is taking in as revenue. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to provide for their retirement security as they have provided for current and previous generations.

The third observation I made as I held the 10 forums was that younger Pennsylvanians are open to the idea of voluntary Personal Retirement Accounts (PRAs) as an essential part of Social Security reform. PRAs provide options that allow younger Americans the flexibility to plan for their retirement.

Establishing these accounts now will allow interest to compound over time and offer a substantially greater rate of return -- a rate of return that is more than our children and grandchildren can expect from today's current system. Additionally, PRAs give individuals flexibility with their retirement nest egg, which they own, rather than a fixed income check from Washington,  D.C.

Lastly, some individuals expressed concern that in order to establish PRAs, the government will have to borrow money.

My suggestion is that we invest or even borrow some money now to save more than $10 trillion down the road. Transition costs are not new costs, but rather moving forward more than $10 trillion of future cost, and in essence paying it off early at a reduced rate, much like refinancing a mortgage or paying off a credit card.

A relatively smaller amount of money would need to be borrowed now to establish PRAs, compared to the painful choices that await us if we do nothing. The bottom line is that PRAs are an essential part of the solution to help relieve the long-term financial burden today's system places on our children and grandchildren.

As the debate continues, I look forward to playing an integral role in strengthening Social Security and engaging Pennsylvanians at each step of the process. I hope that residents of Pennsylvania will continue to engage this issue until we find a bipartisan solution that allows Social Security to remain a program on which our children and grandchildren can depend.

 

Originally posted to paprog on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 07:23 PM PST.

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