Happy Anniversary to Social Security!
August 14th was the 77th Anniversary of Social Security being signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Before Social Security, most working Americans retired into poverty. Today, 160 million workers are building toward a more secure retirement for themselves and their families through their contributions, and 55 million seniors, disabled workers, widows and children currently rely on it for economic security each month. Over its 77 year history, and through 13 recessions, Social Security has never failed to pay on time and in full, and has never added a penny to the nation’s deficit or debt. By the end of 2012, the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to have a $2.7 trillion surplus. Click here to see a timeline of Social Security through the years.
In the midst of attempts to radically reform these programs, I will continue to work to ensure that Social Security remains a strong and stable program. We must not balance the budget on the backs of our seniors. My father will turn 90 years old this summer, and he worked all his life so that he could proudly send all four children to college without ever making more than $25,000 a year. It would be unconscionable to take away Medicare and Social Security benefits from seniors - like my father - who contributed to these programs all their lives. Social Security is a sacred bond between young and old that has made America a better country. Seniors have earned it with a lifetime of hard work, and it should be there now and for future generations. I vow to continue to fight to preserve these programs for the next generation.
The Light of Our Nation
This week I had the true pleasure of addressing teachers at Hickman Mills, in Kansas City, Missouri. Teachers are truly the light for our children and for the nation. America is falling behind other countries -- we once were top of the class, but now we're middle of the pack, behind countries like Japan and China. We need more teachers to help our students understand, achieve, and excel. A good teacher can have a profound impact on a student’s academic and professional life. I know my teachers had an impact on me. My Junior High teacher, Ms. Alma Holland, came into the world with one purpose and one purpose only – to torment me. Whether she was sent by God or some other power, I am not sure. But there is no doubt about her earthly mission. I shared a story about Ms. Holland earlier this year, and you can watch it again here.
As I have shared with you before, I believe the budget is a moral document, and education is one of the many ways the federal budget affects all of us in our daily lives. Investing in our teachers is investing in our children - and in our nation's economic future. While we need to balance the budget, we must not do so at the expense of our children’s education. I believe teachers should be paid a fair wage for their work, and the decent benefits they need to take care of their families. Why in the word do I pay a wide receiver who drops three out of five passes $20 million a year, and I don’t want to pay a teacher $50,000 to start? Truly, America's success tomorrow depends on the teachers we provide to our children today. To all teachers, students, and parents, I wish you a safe and studious first week of school.
Making an Impact
Tyrone Flowers, the creator of Higher M-Pact, and his wife, Renee Flowers take a break from handing out
pocket Constitutions at a Back to School rally.
As you may know, I don’t have a vehicle for my private use—instead, I lease a vehicle for constituent service and assistance. Unlike most other Members, I have a mobile office that brings our office and all its capabilities to you, in your neighborhood, at schools, businesses, nursing homes, libraries, fairs, and more. Because the expense of a mobile office is considerably less than the rent for another district office, it saves taxpayers money. This week, the mobile office joined with Higher M-Pact, a community-based organization dedicated to transforming today's high-risk urban youth into tomorrow's leaders, to get students excited about a safe and studious return to school. My staff also passed out pocket Constitutions to our students, as it’s never too early to learn about our country’s most important document.
This Wednesday, the mobile office will be at the Raytown Branch of Mid-Continent Public Library, 6131 Raytown Road, in Raytown, Missouri.
Would you like to see the Mobile Office come to your neighborhood? Please feel free to call the office at (816) 842-4545 to request a visit or go to: http://cleaver.house.gov/visit-mobile-office.
Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress