DELEGATE FORUM -- DAY 4
August 29, 1996
The delegates responded to these other questions:
A question from Jackie Hunter of Santa Fe, NM:
I am a proud member of "Generation X" and in this case the "X" stands for millions of twenty-somethings who will be X-ed out of Social Security. Both parties have been too cowardly to address the fact that I pay hundreds of dollars a month into a Social Security system which will be bankrupt long before I am old enough to qualify. Why should a large percentage of my pay check, which I count on for rent and food, go to an older generation, many of whom can pay their rent and grocery bills just fine without it? Are the Democrats prepared to open this topic up for discussion? And if not, what can we think of a political system that profits by ignoring unattractive issues such as Social Security.
The delegates respond:
Geraldine Ferraro, New York, NY
Unfortunately, nobody, Republican or Democrat, is willing to run the political risk of talking about curtailing entitlement programs. Let me first assure you however, that the social security system will be around for you to collect on when the time comes. There are enough people who are in positions of power to make that happen, people who have children your age. I must tell you however, that a declining social security trust fund is only one of the problems you will face in the future. If Bob Doles' tax cut were to be taken seriously, the resulting budget deficits would lead to higher interest rates and more accumulation of debt, and these would be even bigger problems for you to address. It didn't work in 1981 and it won't work now, though it sure does have political appeal!!
Bobbie Coray of Logan, UT
As a "Boomer" with two Generation X daughters, I understand your anxiety. The interesting thing about this topic is that when we were 20, we all believed that the "Boomers" wouldn't be collecting Social Security. Now I'm only nine years away from it! We do need to look at Social Security and all of the rest of the entitlement programs to insure that they are financially sound and are generating revenue through investments that reduces the amount of your taxes that are going to entitlements. This may mean restructuring the programs. But just remember, these older folks paid taxes for your schools, training programs and recreation activities before you were a taxpayer. We can only open this up for discussion politically if the American electorate will realize that there are not simple solutions for complex problems.
Veronica Biggins of Atlanta, GA
I will be fifty years old this year and had the same concern when I was in my twenties...and yes, I am still paying and still concerned about the long term benefit to me of Social Security. The discussion is currently under great consideration because you and others are forcing the issue. The President was forced to veto the last bill because of other attachments that were added to the bill. You must become fully involved in the political process and understand if your representative is in fact "representing" you. Become a well educated voter.
Benson Lichtig of State College, PA
I think Social Security is an issue that has to be addressed and will be addressed. I would say that within the next five to ten years, we'll be looking at some kinds of alternative options that people may have other than paying into social security for a retirement account of some type. I also think that within that same time frame, we'll probably see some type of financial needs test in order to qualify for the maximum benefits.
Social Security will not be an issue that will be ignored, simply because too many voters are affected by it and interested in it.
Rachel Binah of Mendocino, CA
If it weren't for Social Security payments, my elderly father, who has Alzheimer's disease, would be institutionalized because both my parents depend upon those checks to cover the home health aides necessary for his care at home. The cost of institutionalization would be far greater to the taxpayer. I believe we have a responsibility as a society to care for our parents and other people's parents too.