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July 1, 1998

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In this new time of opportunity, there is no more sacred obligation than to care for our parents, and help them live every day to its fullest. That is why saving Social Security is about more than our budgets, it is about our deepest values.

- Vice President Al Gore
July 1, 1998

Today, Vice President Al Gore travels to Rhode Island to attend a non-partisan, national forum on Social Security, co-sponsored by the Concord Coalition and the American Association of Retired Persons. Joining the Vice President at the forum are Senators Chafee (R-RI) and Reed (D-RI), and Representatives Rangel (D-NY) and Sanford (R-SC).

The Most Successful Government Program Ever. Since its inception in 1935, the Social Security system has provided security for the retired and disabled, as well as their families. The Social Security system currently provides benefits to about 44 million Americans, and keeps roughly 15 million of them out of poverty. Social Security is the sole source of income for 18 percent of all elderly Americans, and the primary source for two-thirds of all senior citizens.

The Long-Term Challenge. Today, just over three workers contribute for every Social Security beneficiary. With ever increasing numbers of individuals reaching retirement age, it is estimated that by 2030, two workers will contribute into Social Security for each recipient.

The Clinton/Gore Administration Is Working To Protect Social Security. At today's event, the Vice President will reaffirm the Administration's commitment to strengthening the Social Security system through sound principles that meet five objectives:

  • Strengthening and Protecting Social Security For The 21st Century. Any Social Security reform proposal must be comprehensive and address the solvency problem the system will face in the 21st Century.
  • Maintaining Universality and Fairness. For half a century, Social Security has been a progressive guarantee for all citizens. Reform should maintain this promise.
  • Providing A Benefit People Can Count On. Regardless of economic ups and downs, Social Security must provide a solid and dependable foundation of retirement security.
  • Preserving Financial Security For Low-Income And Disabled Beneficiaries. Reform must ensure that those who rely most on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income are not forgotten.
  • Sustaining Fiscal Discipline. Projected budget surpluses should be reserved until we have strengthened Social Security for the 21st Century.

A Nationwide Dialogue On Social Security Reform. Today's forum is part of a year long dialogue the President called for on the subject of Social Security reform. The results of these conversations will culminate in a White House Conference at the end of this year, followed by negotiations with Congress on a bipartisan strategy on how best to achieve Social Security reform and guarantee its solvency for years to come.

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