Regarding the Nov. 18 editorial “Liberalism gone awry”:
Downplaying the looming retirement crisis, The Post asserted that Congress must choose among deficit reduction, investing in the young and strengthening Social Security. These are false trade-offs.
Today, half of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings, and only 14 percent are “very confident” they will have enough money to retire, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Faced with this crisis, Social Security is more important than ever, particularly for today’s young workers who find it difficult to save and lack access to an employer-provided pension.
That is why we introduced legislation to increase Social Security benefits and extend the solvency of the trust fund through 2049 by removing the wage cap that unfairly protects high earners from paying payroll taxes at the same rate as middle-class workers. Bear in mind that Social Security does more than keep seniors out of poverty; it also invests in young people, as millions of children receive benefits as dependents of retired, disabled or deceased workers.
We do not have to choose between the young and the elderly. By expanding Social Security, we can do both.
Tom Harkin and Linda Sanchez, Washington
Tom Harkin, a Democrat, represents Iowa in the Senate. Linda Sanchez, a Democrat, represents California’s 38th District in the House.
The Post rightly argued that we should invest more in children. But it should have noted the critical role of Social Security in protecting and supporting children and families.
Social Security benefits millions of children who live in households that entirely or partially rely on the program to survive. It pays more benefits to children than does almost any other federal program. Benefits go to nearly 100 percent of children whose parent or caregiver dies or is disabled.
Social Security is especially important for children being raised by grandparents. In fact, 22 percent of families in which grandparents or other relatives are raising children live in poverty. Without Social Security, that number would be closer to 60 percent.
Our nation’s budget challenges are real, but any plan to reform Social Security must recognize that children and older adults live in units, and those units are called families. Social Security is more than a retirement program. It’s a critical family protection program.
Donna M. Butts, Fort Washington
The writer is executive director of Generations United.
I was aghast to read the editorial excoriating a proposed increase in Social Security benefits for seniors. Increasing Social Security benefits is the right thing to do. A person may work 45 years or more, with a Social Security contribution made every paycheck. Most retirees will not live more than 15 or 20 years. In retirement, seniors should not have to rely on the current low level of benefits, since increasingly this benefit is their main or only source of income.
Do not forsake us when we are old. That is not what the United States is about.
Michael Kurman, Owings Mills, Md.