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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Social Security Critical to Latino Community

February 3, 2005
Press Release
Washington, DC - Rep. Gene Green today issued the following statement regarding Social Security's impact on the Latino community:
Social Security, an enduring promise to Americas seniors and a bedrock of retirement security, is critically important to the Latino community. 
The program annually keeps 32.9% of Latinos 65 and older out of poverty.  Its progressive benefits formula, guaranteed basic benefit, and cost of living adjustment, significantly benefits Latinos, who earn less, live longer, have higher disability rates, and are less likely to have additional sources of retirement income than other demographics of Americans.  Without Social Security, over half of America's Latino elderly would live below the poverty line.
Social Security is the most successful anti-poverty program ever established.  Since its inception in 1936, Social Security has kept hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.  Even with Social Security, the Latino poverty rate for persons over the age of 65, which stands at 21.6%, is more than double the national average of 10.1% for that age range, added Green.
The progressive benefit formula, guaranteed basic benefit, and cost of living adjustments are elements of Social Security that, disproportionately, benefit Latinos. Social Security particularly helps Latinos, whose lifetime earnings are far lower than the national average, by replacing 57% of lifetime average wages per year for people considered low income workers, in contrast to 36% per year for high wage earners.   The guaranteed basic benefit with a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) ensures that millions of elderly Latinos and their spouses can provide for themselves without fear of inflation eating away their purchasing power. 
Democrats will fight to protect and preserve a stable and reliable program thats served generations; and will fight any attempt to replace it with a risky investment scheme that will result in benefits cut up to 50%.  Democrats created Social Security; we have protected and reinforced the program, and we will always fight to strengthen and reinforce Social Security, concluded Green.