Bob Goodlatte replies about Social Security

Dear Mr. Gavaler:

 Thank you for contacting me regarding your desire to protect Social Security.  It is good to hear from you and I am committed to seeing Social Security effectively provide for our nation’s seniors.

I share your belief that Social Security must be preserved for those who have worked so hard to earn benefits all their lives.  Social Security is a sacred trust between the government and the American people, a trust that must be maintained and strengthened. 

Social Security continues to be one of the most essential federal programs, but it has become very clear that the program is approaching financial difficulties. Americans are living longer, healthier lives, and in the past century, we have added 28 years to our life expectancy. Coupled with higher inflation, greater labor force participation, and shifting earnings levels, Social Security will need to adapt to a changing populace. In addition, Social Security has started paying out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes, a trend that will balloon as America’s Baby Boomers continue to retire. Before 2011, there were more payroll taxes collected each month than Social Security benefits paid out.  The extra funds collected prior to 2011 were placed into the Social Security Trust Fund and are now being paid out to supplement payroll taxes collected each month to pay out benefits.  If we do nothing, the Social Security Trustees have projected the Social Security trust funds to be depleted in 2034, after which Social Security would only be able to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits.  This is unacceptable.  

 Congress must have serious conversations about real solutions to this problem, and only bipartisan action can achieve commonsense reforms that will help all Americans. We need to consider changing demographic and financial realities to create a modern plan for Social Security. Both retired and disabled Americans count on these benefits to be there when they need them, and I will be working hard with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that any solution protects them and future retirees. 

 Rest assured, I will be monitoring any reforms proposed to Social Security with your views in mind.  Our senior citizens have spent a lifetime earning a living, paying taxes and preparing for their retirement with the understanding that Medicare and Social Security would be there.  I’m committed to making sure the government keeps its promise to our nation’s seniors.

 Thanks again for the benefit of your comments.  Please do not hesitate to contact me whenever I may be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Bob Goodlatte
Member of Congress

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Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University where he teaches creative writing, contemporary fiction, and comics. He has published two novels, Pretend I'm Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School For Tricksters (Southern Methodist University 2011), and two nonfictions, On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa University 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2017).

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