WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders, and House Democrats for a press event ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Social Security Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“For 75 years, Social Security has been more than a retirement program: it has meant dignity, security, and peace of mind for generations of our seniors. In return for a lifetime of hard work, it has meant that seniors can count on the stable support they’ve earned, no matter what.
“In 1935, Republicans stood in the way of its creation. And in recent years, they’ve only renewed their efforts to undermine and privatize Social Security. President Bush put privatizing Social Security at the top of his agenda in 2005. Fortunately, he didn’t succeed; but today, Republicans have made very clear that this is yet another Bush policy they want to return to if they take back power. Republicans want to subject Social Security to the whims of Wall Street—ending the very security it’s supposed to provide.
“Under the Republican scheme, if seniors were unlucky enough to retire during an economic downturn, they’d find that their retirements had a giant hole in them. Imagine, for instance, that instead of Social Security you put your money in a private account at the beginning of the Bush Administration, and that you invested in the S&P 500 Index. By that Administration’s end, your account would have lost 36% of its value. What would that have meant for your retirement? What would that have meant for your future?
“We owe to seniors to make Social Security sound and sustainable—not subject to market fluctuations. Democrats fought to create Social Security in the face of Republican opposition. And today, in the face of Republican plans to end Social Security as we know it, Democrats are fighting to keep it strong.”