Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on Social Security and America’s Retiring Population

Bob Marx believes Social Security is an essential program that America’s retiring population counts on for economic stability.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Forty percent of Americans aged 65 or older depend on Social Security to keep them from slipping below the poverty line. Despite the essential nature of the program, funds for retirees are running out.

Many view Social Security as a fund or retirement account that is tied to the individual contributor. This is not how the program actually functions. Rather, employee taxes are used to pay benefits directly to current retirees, and current payees depend on the next generation of employees to pay for their retirement benefits. The problem with Social Security’s sustainability stems from the current economic climate—higher unemployment, lower wage growth, and a 3.6% cost of living increase translate to full Social Security benefits running out in 2033—a mere 21 years from now.

Bob Marx, neighbor island candidate for Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District, remarked on the need for Social Security reform Tuesday, commenting that “now more than ever we need to ensure our kupuna are taken care of.” Social Security is in dire need for reform—the program took in $691 billion in tax revenue in 2011, $45 billion short of the Social Security’s $736 billon in expenses. To continue paying 100% of benefits past 2033, the combined employer-employee tax rate would have to be raised 4.3% from 12.4% to 16.7%.

The problems with Social Security extend further than its potential inability to pay future benefits. The employer-employee combined tax rate burdens the employee rather than the employer. Faced with a higher tax rate, employers stay competitive by reducing employee wages to offset the higher taxes. Marx noted, “The problem [with any reform] will be preventing employers from pushing the costs onto workers… [which will] further depress our economy.”

Bob Marx has been adamant about the need to ensure our elderly are taken care of. At an event in downtown Hilo, Marx spoke with residents about the need for social security reform. “Our elderly have more expenses than ever and poverty is a real possibility.” When asked about what he would do if elected, Marx replied: “I will ensure the stability of our retirees and ensure all of our social welfare programs are solvent well into the future.” Marx proposed raising funds to pay for Social Security by increasing taxes on non-earned income. “Taxes on capital gains and dividend earnings are lower than they were 10 years ago—and look at the resulting situation our economy is in.”

As the Federal Government’s largest expenditure, Social Security is a program that is an essential public service. In this economic climate, much focus is on cutting costs and inevitably, cutting corners. “Services such as Social Security are the product of our government’s responsibility to retirees,” stated Marx. “We should prioritize those most in need, ensuring that they can retire above the poverty line.”

Senator Akaka on the Debt Limit

Media Release:
U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) delivered a statement on the debt limit today on the Senate floor.  The following are Senator Akaka’s remarks as prepared for delivery:


Mr. President, I rise to speak about the budget and the debt ceiling, following the Senate’s failure to invoke cloture on a measure expressing that shared sacrifices from all Americans, including the wealthiest, are necessary to reduce the budget deficit.

As the Senate Budget Committee Chair has proposed, we must reach an agreement that strikes a balance between raising revenues and cutting spending, in which all Americans contribute to the solution.

Congress faces an important task.  Americans are following this debate because they have a stake in its outcome.  If we do not raise the debt ceiling, it will force the government to choose which of its many obligations it will meet.

As President Obama pointed out last week, we cannot guarantee that veterans and Social Security recipients will receive the checks we owe them on August 3 if we fail to reach a compromise.  If we fail, we will damage our credit rating and worldwide confidence in our financial system.

To avoid such a situation, I call on all of my colleagues to negotiate in good faith so that the creditworthiness of the United States is not compromised.  I hope we can reach an agreement that will bring down the debt without placing most of the burden on the vulnerable among us: the sick, the poor, the long-term unemployed, and the elderly.

Mr. President, while we must reduce spending, we cannot forget to continue investing in our nation’s future.  I came of age during the Great Depression and served in World War II, along with my colleagues Senator Inouye and Senator Lautenberg.

We were the beneficiaries of one of the federal government’s greatest investments: the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights.  This visionary federal legislation enabled returning World War II veterans, many who, like myself, came from families of modest means and may never have otherwise attended college.

The GI Bill not only changed the lives of its beneficiaries, it changed the United States by laying the groundwork for the emergence of our middle class, which remains the backbone of our country.  Many other valuable investments made in the years that followed, such as the Interstate Highway System and federal funding for research programs at the nation’s leading universities, propelled America into one of history’s greatest periods of economic expansion, social advancement, and technological innovation.

None of these investments simply happened.  They were made by past Congresses and Presidents from both parties.  These legacies have proven repeatedly that dedicated social and economic investments are effective drivers of recovery, growth, and future success.  As we move forward and make difficult but necessary choices to cut spending, we must strengthen those programs that are restoring our economic health.

Reaching an agreement on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction will undoubtedly require all of us to make difficult compromises on spending and revenues.  As debate on these issues continues, I urge each of my colleagues to remember the obligation that we have to preserve the nation’s creditworthiness and to defend our veterans and those depending on Social Security and other safety net programs from harm as we continue to make needed investments for recovery.

Thank you, Mr. President.  I yield the floor.

Congresswoman Hirono Defends Social Security from Republican Attack


Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, speaking on the House floor, opposes efforts by House Republicans to gut services American families rely on, including Social Security. Today, nearly 55 million Americans rely on Social Security, including 214,000 in Hawaii. The program is vital to women, particularly single women, who disproportionately face poverty in old age.

Congresswoman Hirono Announces Vote to Provide One-Time $250 Check for Hawaii Seniors

Media Release:

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono announced House Democrats will move ahead with legislation to provide Social Security recipients with a one-time $250 payment in 2011. The Social Security Administration is expected to announce Friday there will be no automatic Cost-of-Living-Adjustment for 2011.

H.R. 5987, the Seniors Protection Act of 2010, is expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote when Congress reconvenes in November.

“There are more than 160,000 seniors in the State of Hawaii who receive Social Security benefits. As a cosponsor of this measure, I strongly support Congress’ efforts to enact this one-time $250 payment to seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities to help them make ends meet,” said Congresswoman Hirono.

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Social Security


Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono joins staff members of the Kapolei Branch of the Social Security Administration to celebrate the federal agency’s 75th anniversary. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935, launching our nation’s first and most enduring social program.