Senator Thompson is a cosponsor of legislation to create a ?Social Security Lockbox? to prevent the surpluses in the Social Security Trust Fund from being spent on government programs other than Social Security. While Democrats have successfully filibustered this legislation in the Senate, Republicans have committed to protecting the Social Security surplus from being raided, and have passed budgets in each of the last two years that balance without touching one penny of the Social Security surplus.
In addition, in each of the last two Congresses, Senator Thompson has been an original cosponsor of the leading bipartisan Social Security reform proposal in the Senate. This legislation, the ?Bipartisan Social Security Reform Act,? is also supported by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH), John Breaux (D-LA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bob Kerrey (D-NE), Craig Thomas (R-WY), and Chuck Robb (D-VA).
Senator Thompson believes that our strong economy provides us with a tremendous window of opportunity to strengthen and reform this important program. Many people know that the Social Security program gets in serious financial trouble when the Baby Boomers start retiring less than ten years from now. Social Security experts tell us that, in just 15 years, Social Security will begin paying out more in benefits than it receives in taxes. By the year 2037, if no changes are made, the Social Security Trust Funds will be bankrupt and will only be able to pay 72% of the benefits that have been promised.
Protecting and preserving Social Security for future generations is one of the greatest challenges we face as a nation. And the time for action is now. Our economy is strong, our budget surplus is growing and the Congressional Budget Office predicts that it will continue to grow over the next decade. Just as important, the 76 million Baby Boomers are still in the workforce paying taxes into the Social Security system. If we wait until this enormous group stops paying taxes and instead begins drawing benefits, the fixes will have to be much more severe.
The bipartisan plan that Senator Thompson has endorsed would put the Social Security program on the path to long-term solvency and would establish an individual savings account for every worker under the age of 55. This proposal represents one effort to reach across party lines and craft a solution that will enable Social Security to provide for our grandchildren like it did for our grandparents.
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