AARP opposes President's social security reform - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

AARP opposes President's social security reform

Albany - President Bush is on a national campaign, defending his plans for reforming social security. He says social security badly needs fixing and the fix should include private retirement accounts. However, the American Association of Retired Persons says that's not the remedy.

The President is defending his proposal to allow Americans to invest in private retirement accounts. He says as baby boomers approach retirement, there are "more people getting benefits and fewer people paying for us." He's promoting private investment accounts for younger workers. But will that jeopardize seniors' retirement?

"I've heard so many different things, it was confusing to understand what was going on," said Marye Wright. Retired educator Marye Wright hoped the AARP could clear her confusion about the social security woes. She, like many other people at Monday's AARP forum in Albany, depends on social security to pay bills.

"Ninety percent of seniors draw social security," said Jack Brice, a member of AARP Board of Directors. Brice says social security needs revamping but private retirement accounts would only drain the system more.

"If we take money out of the social security finances, that we are now relying on to pay benefits, then we'll either have to decrease benefits or increase the money to fund it by borrowing money from someplace else," said Brice.

AARP offered other options:
Investing part of social security so that it earns higher returns than those offered by U.S. Treasury bonds.
Raising the cap on the amount of wages taxed to support the system from $90,000 to $140,000.
Requiring all state and government workers to invest in social security.

Brice also stressed that social security isn't in immediate danger. "They estimate 100% percent can be paid until 2042, then they estimate after that 70 to 80% of benefits can be paid." Brice says AARP's proposed changes to the system would secure 100% benefits for generations to come.

AARP urged those attending the forum to contact lawmakers and tell them they don't support private retirement accounts.

posted by kathryn.murchison@walb.com

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