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Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Power of the Town Meeting

Rep. Kuhl adds Social Security bill

By Jeffery Smith
The Leader

Responding to concerns from local residents, U.S. Rep. John R. Kuhl Jr. introduced federal legislation Wednesday he says will make Social Security more solvent. Kuhl is one of several Republican representatives that crafted the bill to stop Congress’ long-time practice of raiding surplus money from the Social Security fund.

The bill seeks to protect the Social Security surplus and dedicate it to private accounts for workers under the age of 55, if they choose to participate. The private accounts would be invested in Treasury securities, used to supplement worker’s benefits and would be inheritable.

The idea to protect surplus funds in the Social Security system came from several area residents who attended town hall meetings hosted by Kuhl throughout the 29th District. “A message that has resonated loud and clear in my town meetings is that people want to be sure that the Social Security surplus is not raided to pay for unrelated programs,” Kuhl said. “The new bill that I’ve authored and introduced is a result of the meetings.”

Proposing to set up separate accounts for workers is similar to the Bush administration’s idea of reforming the retirement benefit system. Estimates are Social Security will begin running at a deficit as early as 2017 when more will be paid out of the system than is contributed.

“My legislation stops the raid on surplus and keeps the funds from being used by other programs,” Kuhl said. “It ensures that surplus funds will be used only to pay standard Social Security benefits to future retirees. This is not a solution to the long-term problems facing Social Security. Rather, it’s a measure designed to immediately stop the bleeding.”

Note from Sallyann: I believe it was Dick Pierce who made the suggestion to invest a percentage of Social Security in low risk investments to Randy Kuhl at his last Town Meeting here in Lindley. See...the ideas that come up in a Town Meeting often have merit.


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