Dear President Obama: Create a Lasting Social Security Legacy in Your State of the Union Address

Nancy Altman Founding Co-director, Social Security Works

Dear President Obama:

On Tuesday, January 12, when you deliver your final State of the Union address, you will have a tremendous opportunity to establish a profound legacy regarding one of the nation’s most important domestic programs — Social Security. You simply have to pull together the strands of a number of concerns you have voiced during your presidency, recognize Social Security as the solution that it is, and boldly join the growing chorus calling for its expansion.

Your announced commitment to expanding Social Security will have a major impact. Your legacy on the issue will be established not by the attainment of legislation but by your bold leadership in proposing it.

It is no accident that so many Americans believe that theywill never receive the Social Security benefits they have earned. A decades-long, billionaire-funded campaign to undermine confidence in Social Security’s future has succeeded. Though this campaign has not yet succeeded in cutting cash benefits, it has undermined one important Social Security benefit. Social Security is supposed to provide, as its name suggests, the intangible benefit of security, peace of mind. But polls show that too many Americans believe, against all evidence, that Social Security is unaffordable as a result of an aging population and so will not be there for them in the future.

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