This national effort will call on the best of our people. It will require us to rise above partisanship. It will require us to plan for the future, to consider new ideas, to engage in what President Roosevelt called 'bold, persistent experimentation.' It will remind us that there are some challenges that we can only meet as one America.
Today, President Clinton travels to New Mexico to attend a non-partisan, national forum on Social Security, co-sponsored by the Concord Coalition and the American Association of Retired Persons. The President will reaffirm his commitment to putting aside all budget surpluses to save Social Security first. Joining the President at the forum are Senators Domenici (R-NM) and Bingaman (D-NM), and Representatives Kolbe (R-AZ) and Becerra (D-CA).
The Need To Strengthen Social Security. America's economy is the strongest it has been in a generation. The strength of our economy and the balancing of our federal budget affords America a rare opportunity to prepare our nation for the 21st Century. One of the biggest challenges we will meet is the retirement of the baby boom generation and the strain it will place on the Social Security system. By 2030, there will be twice as many elderly people than today, with only two people working for every person drawing Social Security. The shifting demographics of our population require the nation to act now so this and future generations can be ensured that the money they put into Social Security will be there when they retire.
Saving Social Security First. President Clinton firmly believes that every penny of any budget surplus be put aside to save Social Security first. Under the President's leadership, our nation has turned persistent budget deficits into surpluses, but just as the budget has been balanced, some want to squander this fiscal legacy by passing tax cuts paid for by these surpluses. Fiscal responsibility gave us this strong economy, and the President is calling on leaders of both parties to join the bipartisan call to save Social Security first.
The President Is Working To Protect Social Security. The President believes that any changes or reforms to the current system should be measured against the following five objectives:
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.