At Metro Justice we believe that all people should be guaranteed a dignified retirement. Any decent society should ensure elders a comfortable standard of living and the ability to live purposeful, meaningful, and dignified lives in their homes and communities. Whether it was a lifetime of work, or a lifetime of hardship in and out of employment, at old age we should not be abandoned to live out our final years in poverty.
Social Security is a vital institution won by the struggles of social justice activists and organizers long before us. It would dishonor their effort and impoverish millions of people if we allowed Social Security to fall apart.
Most importantly, there is no financial reason for it to fall apart. The only risk to Social Security is an ideological risk from an agenda that wants to destroy our entire social safety net.
Over half of the population over 65 would be living in poverty were it not for Social Security. The Black and Latino communities in particular often rely on Social Security to a much higher degree, and to cut these services would not only be an attack on the elderly, but on the Black and Latino communities.
Social Security isn't only about the retired, it's also about disability. Social Security helps to keep millions of disabled people out of poverty. It also funds the needs of many children whose parents died before they were grown.
We're told we can't afford these sorts of luxuries and that Social Security is broke. But that's just an ideological lie. Social Security is incredibly well funded and right now fine until after 2033. And, the major threat to its funding isn't the cost of living that it pays out, but the fact that the richest among us don't pay into it at the same rate as the rest of us!
We have a choice for the kind of society we want to live in. We can abandon Social Security to those that would see us destroy our entire social safety net and watch as millions fall into poverty, only able to rely on the meager retirement plans that private businesses currently provide. Or, we can defend the ideal of a Dignified Retirement for All and protect Social Security from these cuts, and expand its services. The Dignified Retirement for All Campaign calls for:
1) Remove the cap to paying into FICA. Right now those with high income don't pay FICA tax on any of their income over $113,700. This is absurd. The richest among us actually pay less of their earnings into this vital social program than the rest of us. The cap should be removed entirely.
2) Increase and improve benefits. Right now there seems to be more talk about cutting benefits. But, retiree benefits from Social Security are well behind nearly every other industrialized nation in the world. Social Security alone barely keeps our elderly out of poverty as it is. It's madness to call for cutting these benefits. They should be raised!
3) We will defend against cuts to Social Security! Any cuts to proper funding of benefits of the Social Security Trust Fund will be actively opposed by Metro Justice. Whether these are stealth cuts like the Chained CPI proposal or the more obvious efforts to privatize the trust fund, we will coordinate our members to effectively stop these cuts.