Spotlight On Social Security
Our Social Security system is the only way to guarantee our retirement.
Connect: Our Social Security system is the foundation of our families' security: We work hard and pay into it with every paycheck so each of us can retire with dignity.
Define it: Our Social Security system is a basic part of what makes America run, like our national highway system. And with pensions vanishing and investments vulnerable, it's more important now than ever.
Debunk: Our Social Security system doesn't add a single penny to the deficit and never has. With a growing $2.7 trillion trust fund, our Social Security system will go on strong for decades to come.
Offer solutions: Keeping it strong for the next 75 years after that is simple: close the tax loophole that makes a middle-class family pay a higher rate than for the richest of us. Everyone should pay the same rate for the same guarantee.
Contrast: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to cut Social Security and move to a privatized system where their Wall Street bank donors can make billions in fees off our retirement.
Values: Our parents and their parents built our Social Security system over generations. We must not let politicians betray the sacred promise each generation makes to the next.
The White House guarantees our Social Security system. Romney-Ryan would dismantle it.
Words to use: Our Social Security system;
Maintain or adjust [instead of "fix Social Security"];
Retirement earnings [instead of "benefits" or "entitlements"];
Close the tax loophole/Same rate for same guarantee [instead of "scrap the cap"]
ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
ATTACK: "Social Security is growing out of control and needs to be on the table for deficit reduction."
- We work hard and pay into our Social Security system our entire working lives with every paycheck. Social Security belongs to us, and it's wrong for politicians to make us pay the price for their leadership failures.
- Actually, Social Security doesn't add a penny to the deficit. The system has its own dedicated funding stream.
- Keeping our Social Security system strong into the next century is simple: close the tax loophole that makes the middle class pay at a higher rate than for a millionaire. Everyone should pay the same rate for the same guarantee.
ATTACK: "Social Security is facing a crisis."
- The crisis is in the rest of the retirement system, not in our Social Security system. Americans' pensions are gone, housing is down, and 401k's are unreliable. Social Security is the only retirement left that we can count on.
- The real threats to Social Security are Republican politicians like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who keep trying to end our Social Security system by privatizing it and turning it over to Wall Street.
- Our Social Security system is as strong as we make it. Our parents and their parents built our Social Security system over generations -- it's our generation's turn to maintain it.
ATTACK: "Everyone knows that Social Security is going bankrupt."
- Actually, the good news is that Americans can already count on our Social Security system for decades to come. There's already a massive trust fund with a growing $2.7 trillion surplus in the safest investments in the world and its own dedicated income stream.
- And we can maintain our Social Security system for decades more with a simple adjustment: close the tax loophole that lets the richest of us pay into it at a lower rate and have everyone pay the same rate for the same guarantee, whether you're middle class or a millionaire.
EXCUSE: "People are living longer."
- That is great news. Let's make sure that they have decent retirement income that they cannot outlive.
- Americans clearly can't count on stocks or real estate to guarantee our retirement. Let's demand that Washington makes sure we can all continue to count on our Social Security system.
- To keep our Social Security system strong, there's an easy adjustment: instead of letting millionaires and billionaires pay a lower rate, close the tax loophole so they pay the same rate for the same guarantee as the rest of us.
FALSEHOOD: "Privatizing Social Security will make it stronger."
- People are already free to have whatever savings accounts they like. Our Social Security system doesn't stop people from saving on their own, and they're encouraged to.
- But Wall Street gambling with our Social Security system would mean exposing our only way to guarantee our retirement to the risky ups and downs of the stock market. Even the best investors can lose everything.
- Adding Wall Street as a middleman just adds risks and costs for us. But they'd make billions of dollars in commission fees -- money directly from our retirement earnings.
- Our Social Security system already is common-sense capitalism: you pay in while you work, and it pays out when you can't. It is a foundation of America's middle-class prosperity.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Mitt Romney, Congressman Paul Ryan, and Republicans in Congress have long pushed to privatize Social Security and turn it over to Wall Street so their banker donors can make billions in fees -- even though that means seniors could lose huge amounts of their retirement savings to stock market downturns.
- In fact, Congressman Ryan authored a plan to privatize Social Securitythat was so extreme that the Bush Administration, which also tried and failed to privatize Social Security, rejected it as "irresponsible."
- Poll after poll, including polling dating back six decades, consistently show that an overwhelming majority of Americans strongly supports Social Security.
- Social Security already has a massive and growing surplus of $2.7 trillion that's being held in trust in the safest investment in the world.
- Average Social Security earnings are actually modest at about only $14,000 per year, which still provides two-thirds of income for a typical senior and more than 90% of the income for a third of seniors. In fact, without Social Security, nearly half of elderly Americans would live below the official poverty level.
- By law, Social Security cannot add a penny to the deficit and it never has.
- To keep Social Security going strong for the next 75 years and without cutting promised benefits, all we need is a simple adjustment to that system.
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.
Posted in - Budget - Economy - Seniors