UAW Solidarity House | 8000 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48214 | p. (313) 926-5000
© Copyright 2013 UAW. All Rights Reserved.
The UAW commends Chairman Harkin’s leadership and tireless work on behalf of American workers. As his report points out, too many Americans face a retirement security crisis despite a lifetime of hard work. Only 1 in 5 Americans has a pension and half have less than $10,000 in savings. This is unacceptable for the wealthiest nation in the world, and Congress should enact Chairman Harkin’s practical and sensible solutions to strengthen retirement security for millions of working Americans and future generations.
Defined benefit pension plans were once the basis for a secure retirement, but for decades, they have been allowed to erode as our nation experimented with “do it yourself” retirement savings. Even before the financial crisis, that experiment had failed; the bleak statistics cited in Chairman Harkin’s report attest to that. It’s time to forge bold new solutions. Chairman Harkin’s proposal for “USA Retirement Funds” is a practical, cost-effective way to extend the benefits of a secure pension to millions more hardworking Americans.
We also need to strengthen Social Security, an incredibly important and successful program that has dramatically reduced poverty among seniors and enabled hundreds of millions of Americans to retire with dignity. Chairman Harkin’s proposal would extend the life of the Trust Fund to 2052 by gradually phasing out the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax. With this enhanced financing, benefits could finally be raised across the board. In addition, his reforms to the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) index would better reflect the economic realities seniors and disabled Americans face every day.
Unfortunately, right wing extremists in Washington are relentlessly trying to cut benefits and undermine social security and defined benefit plans at every turn. We urge them to stop these misguided efforts and work with Chairman Harkin to enact the reforms he calls for in this report.