Labor's view: Why every working family should care about Social Security
April 1999

Social Security is the retirement plan for America's workers and their families. Two-thirds of older Americans rely on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income and 30 percent rely on it for 90 percent or more of their income. Only about one-third of all retirees receive private pensions.

Social Security is not just a retirement plan. It is a family protection plan, too, with benefits that cover all generations.

Social Security also provides life and disability insurance for the 96 percent of American workers who contribute to the system and their families. Today, Social Security is a lifeline delivering monthly benefits to more than 43 million people including:

Social Security's benefits are essential to keeping tens of millions of older Americans out of poverty. Without Social Security, more than half of the elderly would live below the poverty line, compared to 11 percent with Social Security.

Special interests are using the Social Security debate to undermine support for the current system because they want to replace it with private investment accounts. Wall Street money managers and anti-government ideologues are selling individual accounts as a free lunch, but in fact these accounts come at a high price-increased retirement ages, large cuts in guaranteed benefits, reduced inflation protection-or all three.

Social Security works--and we can strengthen it to keep it working. Social Security is not broke. Full benefits are assured for more than 3 decades. And by strengthening Social Security with modest changes now, we can ensure its protections are there for today's workers, our children, and our grandchildren.

What you can do to strengthen Social Security:

Call or write your members of Congress and tell them to protect working families, not Wall Street. Tell them working families want to preserve Social Security's guaranteed retirement, disability and survivors benefits-not swap them for a risky scheme that would raise the retirement age, cut benefits, weaken inflation protection, raise taxes, or all four.

Stay informed. Check the AFL-CIO website regularly. Other sites to check are and

Share the facts. Talk to friends, neighbors, co-workers and the people in your congregation about what's at stake for working families in the Social Security debate.

Make Your voice heard. Attend town hall meetings about Social Security, call in to talk radio shows and write letters to the editor.

Join the campaign to strengthen social security. Call 1-877-760-2340.

Reprinted from Labor's View, newsletter of the North Central Florida Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. January, 1999. To get the newsletter, write the Central Labor Council at 1910 NW 53rd St., Gainesville, FL 32653.

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