I believe in maintaining a strong Social Security program that will provide retirement stability for its participants. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring and beginning to receive Social Security benefits each day, we must have a national conversation about modernizing Social Security that ensures its fiscal solvency.
I do not support cuts to current benefits paid to our seniors which have worked a lifetime to earn. I also believe we need to allow our younger workforce to have the ability to create individual savings accounts that can be inherited by family members. In order to sustain a fiscally strong Social Security for all retiring Americans, we need to implement 21st century solutions to a 20th century program.
Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustments (COLA)
Social Security COLA’s are made by calculating percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of one calendar year to the third quarter of the following year. Once an increase is calculated, the COLA goes into effect in December, and the first payout occurs in January of the following year.
On October 18, 2016, the Social Security Administration announced a 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries beginning in January 2017 based on changes in the consumer price index (CPI). For more information, please visit the Social Security Administration’s website.
I am a cosponsor of the H.R. 3074, the CPI for Seniors Act, as the CPI may not accurately reflect the spending habits of seniors. The bill directs the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor to prepare and publish a monthly index, to be known as the Consumer Price Index for Seniors, that indicates monthly changes in expenditures for consumption that are typical for individuals in the United States who are 62 years of age or older.
In the past, Social Security surpluses were used to fund other government projects and programs. I believe this behavior is unacceptable and has led to serious problems regarding the future of Social Security. While deficits exist this year, I believe any future surpluses should be guarded to prevent wasteful spending. In March 2015 I introduced legislation, H.R. 1520, which would protect future surpluses by creating a lockbox that prevents these funds from being spent on other federal programs.
Keep Promises to Seniors
We owe it to Michigan’s seniors to keep our promise of a solvent Social Security Administration. After a lifetime of work and payment into the system, it is only fair to expect what was originally promised. I am resolved to find ways to honor our seniors by keeping the program solvent for their generation and those yet to retire.
Allow Individual Accounts for Young People
If the financial troubles of the past few years have taught us anything, it should be that we must be responsible for our own retirement planning. I believe that we need to reform Social Security so that, while it meets current financial obligations, it allows young workers the freedom to form their own individual savings accounts that they are able to control.
03/19/2015 - Sponsored Legislation: H.R. 1520 Social Security and Medicare Lockbox Act
03/17/2016 – Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 3074, CPI for Seniors Act