Today is the 78th birthday for Social Security, the flagship safety net initiative for our nation’s seniors, surviving spouses and children, and disabled workers. Since first created in 1935, Social Security has kept millions of working Americans out of poverty, allowing them to live with dignity in difficult times of old age or the loss of spouses and parents.
As a new report from the Alliance of Retired Americans makes clear, the benefits of Social Security for North Carolinians in particular are obvious. Perhaps most notably, Social Security provided benefits to 1.2 million of our state’s seniors in 2012, effectively keeping almost 500,000 of them out of poverty. Almost 1 million of these recipients were women.
As Congress debates the future of the federal budget, it remains vitally important that seniors, children, and those with disabilities be protected from unnecessary and damaging cuts to the benefits provided by Social Security. Instead, Social Security needs to be protected and strengthened for future generations, and the best way to accomplish that goal is take a balanced approach to the federal budget, one that increases new revenues by closing the tax loopholes and special giveaways that allow corporations to evade paying taxes. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, more than $1 trillion in new revenues can be raised by closing these loopholes.
So on Social Security’s birthday, it’s important to remember: rather than ask Seniors and our most vulnerable to bear the brunt of reducing the federal budget deficit, it makes far more sense to take a balanced approach that raises new revenues through the elimination of these corporate loopholes.