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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Green Gives A Red Light To Social Security Privatization

June 23, 2005
Press Release
Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Gene Green released the following statement concerning the current movement to reform Social Security and the impact it will have on the Latino population.
The privatization of Social Security will disproportionately harm the Latino community.  With 45% of Latino seniors relying on Social Security for 90% or more of their income the Social Security safety net is of critical importance to the Latino Community.
Social Security has been an incredibly effective anti poverty program because the benefit formula replaces a high percentage of low income earners wages, giving those most in need, will receive money to buy groceries and continue to pay their bills.  Unfortunately, the Administrations privatization plan will fray the Social Security safety net and shove millions of Americans dependent on Social Security below the poverty line.
Social Security is a critical government program for the Hispanic community, as 81 percent of Hispanic seniors currently have no pension benefits, while 72 percent have no savings for retirement. 
Three-fourths of Hispanic seniors rely on Social Security for a majority of their income; an attack on the Social Security safety net is an attack on Americas Latino elderly.
The Hispanic population, on average, is also a decade younger than the rest of America. Therefore, Hispanics have a huge stake in the Administrations plans to partially-privatize Social Security because younger generations have the most to lose under the proposal. 

At $655 per month, the average Social Security benefit for Hispanics is already a third lower than the average monthly benefit for the nation at-large, which is $955.  Latinos on average earn less than other populations.  The average Latino accumulated wealth at retirement is $200,000, markedly lower than any other major demographic.  With low amounts of savings, Latinos tend to rely more heavily on Social Security to get them through each month.

Even the Government Accounting Office (GAO) warned against disrupting the program.  GAO stated that disrupting Social Security benefit formula was likely to disproportionately affect equity for minorities.  Disability, i.e. survivors and dependents benefits also will be affected if any changes occur to the structure of the program.
Democrats, on the other hand, do not believe that the way to reform our countrys greatest tool to combat poverty is to strip out the very provisions that have kept millions that have kept millions out of poverty.  We will fight to keep the security in Social Security and maintain the program as a strong safety net for Americas Latino population