Neal supports new bill that would strengthen Social Security

July 20, 2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

WASHINGTON, DC – In an interview with President & CEO Max Richtman and Communications Director Walter Gottlieb of the National Committee to Preserve Security and Medicare on July 12, Neal called the current efforts to change Medicare “short-sighted.”

He said, “The idea you could jeopardize so many initiatives to the American family and that’s what this is about, whether it’s Social Security, the guarantee of Society Security, the guarantee of Medicare or the whole notion of what Medicare has done for the expenditure of nursing home care across America is remarkably short-sighted.”

The interview was braodcast live on Facebook.

He added that with the discussion of heath care people need to focus on the security that Medicare provides and the discussion in Congress about the Social Security trust fund has been “ill informed.”

Neal said the seven years of recession saw more people deciding to retire and draw Social Security funds, which had not been their plan. As the economy improves, more people go back to work and make contributions into the system. If nation can back to the 66 percent contribution rate as it did for years, many of the problems Social Security is facing would be fixed, he contended.

“One of the things I like to point out is that you can outlive an annuity, but you can’t outlive Social Security. That’s the guarantee, that’s the genius of Mr. Roosevelt’s initiative,” Neal said.

Richtman pointed out a third of Social Security funds go to families and the disabled and the fund is not simply serving retirees. Neal said he was “Exhibit A” and said Social Security funds allowed him and his siblings “to live like a family.”

Richtman asked about the reception to a bill from Congressman John Larson of the First District of Connecticut titled “The Social Security 2100 Act.” If enacted as written, the bill would decrease Social Security tax on more than 11 million recipients. The bill would also provide an increase for all beneficiaries, protect against inflation, and protect low-income workers. To make the Social Security trust Fund solvent for the next 75 years, Larson has proposed a 50-cent increase weekly for Social Security taxes and he would have millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as everyone else does.

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Neal said Larson’s bill  “invites some fresh thinking about how to encourage growth" in Social Security.

According to the recently released the 2017 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) – commonly known as Social Security – and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds,  “Under the intermediate assumptions, DI Trust Fund asset reserves are projected to become depleted in 2028, at which time continuing income to the DI Trust Fund would be sufficient to pay 93 percent of DI scheduled benefits. Therefore, legislative action is needed to address the DI program’s financial imbalance. The OASI Trust Fund reserves are projected to become depleted in 2035, at which time OASI income would be sufficient to pay 75 percent of OASI scheduled benefits.”

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