Briefing Book
White House Conference

The New Century Alliancefor Social Security

1025 Connecticut Ave., NW - Suite 205
Washington, DC 20036
202-955-5606 fax

Statement of Roger Hickey - Director of the New Century Alliance for Social Security and Co-Director of the Institute for America's Future

On December 3, 1998, over 170 leaders of citizen organizations concerned about Social Security's future united to launch the New Century Alliance for Social Security. This Statement of Principles for Social Security reflects an important consensus from a diverse group of leaders. Our message: if a plan doesn't meet these principles, it doesn't really save Social Security.

A Statement of Principles for a New Century Alliance for Social Security

Social Security is vital to millions of Americans. For over sixty years Social Security's retirement, disability and survivors benefits have kept generations of people out of poverty and provided a secure base for middle class retirement. Most Americans will depend upon its portable, progressive and guaranteed retirement benefits and its social insurance protections to provide at least half of their income. We must all work to ensure that Americans of all ages will continue to be protected by Social Security from serious loss of income because of old age, disability or the death of a family's wage earner.

Congress and the President should work to strengthen the finances of Social Security for future generations. "Privatization" proposals to shift a portion of Social Security taxes to private investment accounts would inevitably require large cuts in Social Security's defined benefits and make retirement income overly dependent on the risks of the stock and bond markets.

We join together to insist that Social Security's central role in family income protection must not be compromised, and we endorse the following principles for Social Security reform:

  • Social Security's benefit structure should remain universal and portable, guaranteeing monthly benefits that provide a decent income and are adjusted to keep up with inflation for as long as you live.

  • Social Security must continue to provide risk-free disability insurance protection for workers and their dependents. It must also continue to provide survivors insurance for spouses and children of deceased workers, as well as continuing to provide benefits for those adults with severe disabilities who are dependents or survivors of their parents. These crucial insurance functions must continue without harmful benefit reductions.

  • Beneficiaries who earned higher wages during their worklife should continue to receive benefits related to their earnings history, and Social Security should continue to replace a larger share of low-income workers' past earnings as a protection against poverty.

  • We must take care that the impact of changes in the Social Security system not fall disproportionately on lower income groups, or on those whose worklife has been physically demanding. Any changes should not make the financing of Social Security any less progressive.

  • Many privatization proposals finance the cost of private accounts partly by increasing the retirement age. Raising the age at which people can collect benefits is the equivalent of a benefit cut, with especially onerous impacts on those in physically challenging jobs or on groups with lower life expectancy.

  • Basic benefit protections for women -who have lower lifetime earnings and more workforce absences because of care giving for children, parents or spouses - should be preserved and strengthened.

  • While Social Security should continue as the foundation of our social insurance and retirement system we also need new policies to encourage employers to provide good pensions and to spur private savings. But this should be done in addition to, rather than at the expense of, the existing Social Security benefit structure.

  • Private accounts should not be substituted for Social Security's current defined benefits. Diversion of Social Security tax revenues to pay for private investment accounts makes the projected long term Social Security financing problems more severe, forcing deep benefit cuts, such as large increases in the retirement age, and weakens the system's ability to follow the principles above. Social Security benefits should not be subject to market fluctuations.

  • We should save Social Security first, instead of using budget surpluses to pay for tax cuts.

Appearing at our press conference on December 3 were these heads of citizen organizations (all signers of our Statement of Principles): Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Kweisi Mfume, NAACP; John J. Sweeney, AFL-CIO; Patricia Ireland, National Organization for Women; Justin Dart, Justice for All; Brent Wilkes, League of United Latin American Citizens; Sharon Daly, Catholic Charities, USA; Hugh Price, National Urban League; Deborah Briceland-Betts, Older Women's League; Dr. Jane E. Smith, National Council of Negro Women; Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Steve Protulis, National Council of Senior Citizens; Hans Riemer, 2030 Center and Roger Hickey, Institute for America's Future.

See statement of Liz Kramer, New Century Alliance for Social Security (may be listed as Institute for America's Future), for full list of 170 statement signers.

The New Century Alliance for Social Security
Statement of Liz Kramer
Deputy Director - Institute for America's Future;
Policy Associate - 2030 Center

Attached is the list of signers of the Statement of Principles for the New Century Alliance for Social Security. For more information, see the statement by Roger Hickey, Director of the New Century Alliance for Social Security and Co-Director of the Institute for America's Future or visit

Hans Riemer, 2030 Center;
Norman Hill, A. Philip Randolph Institute;
John Rother, AARP;
Steve Kest, ACORN;
John J. Sweeney, AFLCIO;
Norman Lear, Act III Communications;
Mike Farrell, Actor, Producer;
Edith Fierst, Advisory Council on Social Security, 1994-96;
Janice Weinman, American Association of University Women;
Bobby L. Harnage, Sr., American Federation of Government Employees;
Gerald W. McEntee, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees;
Sandra Feldman, American Federation of Teachers;
Richard Foltin, American Jewish Committee;
Joni Fritz, American Network of Community Options and Resources;
Moe Biller, American Postal Workers Union;
Robert Kuttner, American Prospect;
Amy Isaacs, Americans for Democratic Action;
Alicia Munnell, Boston College;
John B. Williamson, Boston College;
Robert Reich, Brandeis University;
James H. Schulz, Brandeis University;
John G. Guffey, Calvert Social Investment Foundation;
Roger Hickey, Campaign/Institute for America's Future;
Sharon Daly, Catholic Charities USA;
Msgr. George Higgins, Catholic University of America;
Alan W. Houseman, Center for Law & Social Policy;
Linda Tarr-Whelan, Center for Policy Alternatives;
Leslie R. Wolfe, Center for Women's Policy Studies;
Rev. James E. Hug, SJ, Center of Concern;
Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities;
Wendell Primus, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities;
David Liederman, Child Welfare League of America;
Marian Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund;
Kay Hollestelle, Children's Foundation;
Ann K. Delorey, Church Women United;
Richard Kirsch, Citizen Action of New York;
Gloria Johnson, Coalition of Labor Union Women;
Stuart Campbell, Coalition on Human Needs;
Charles Knight, Commonwealth Institute;
Morton Bahr, Communication Workers of America;
Jerome Grossman, Council for a Livable World;
David Langer, David Langer Co. Actuaries;
Kelly Young, Democrats 2000;
Amy L. Domini, Domini Social Investments;
Thomas J. Downey, Downey Chandler, Inc.;
Jeff Faux, Economic Policy Institute;
Dean Baker, Economist;
Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group;
Michael McCloskey, Environmentalist;
Ron Pollack, Families USA Foundation;
Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority;
Tom Schlesinger, Financial Markets Center;
Sumner Rosen, Five Boroughs Institute;
Msgr. Charles Fahey, Fordham University;
Ruth Messinger, Former Manhattan Borough President;
Berkley Bedell, Former Member of Congress (IA);
Ned Stowe, Friends Committee On National Legislation;
Brent Blackwelder, Friends of the Earth;
Roger Wilkins, George Mason University;
Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University;
Peter Edelman, Georgetown Law Center;
Tim Fuller, Gray Panthers;
Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition;
Elaine Bernard, Harvard University;
James Medoff, Harvard University;
Michael Sandel, Harvard University;
Juliet Schor, Harvard University;
Theda Skocpol, Harvard University;
William Julius Wilson, Harvard University;
Jack O'Connell, Health & Welfare Council of Long Island;
Mimi Abramovitz, Hunter School of Social Work;
Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women's Policy Research;
Clavin Fields, Institute of Gerontology, UDC;
Timothy Smith, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility;
Thomas Buffenbarger, International Association of Machinists;
Stephen Viederman, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation;
Bert Seidman, Jewish Labor Committee;
Fred Azcarate, Jobs with Justice;
Rev. Peter Laarman, Judson Memorial Church;
Justin Dart, Justice for All;
Peter D. Kinder, Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini & Co.;
Brent Wilkes, League of United Latin American Citizens;
John Mueller, Lehrman Bell Mueller Cannon;
Rev. Robert L. Pierce, Long Island Council of Churches;
Rev. Russell Siler, Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, ELCA;
Elisa Maria Sanchez, MANA, A National Latina Organization;
Peter Diamond, MIT;
Richard Medley, Medley Global Advisors, L.L.C.;
Jackie Kendall, Midwest Academy;
Heather Booth, Midwest Academy, Founder;
Julian Bond, NAACP;
Kweisi Mfume, NAACP;
Kathy Thornton RSM, NETWORK: National Catholic Social Justice Lobby;
Eleanor Litwak, NY State Council of Senior Citizens;
Robert Ball, National Academy of Social Insurance;
Jean Daniel, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging;
Toby Weismiller, National Association of Social Workers;
Samuel Simmons, National Caucus and Center on Black Aged;
Susan Bianchi-Sand, National Committee on Pay Equity and Chair, National Council of Women's Organizations;
Max Richtman, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare;
Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, National Council of Churches of Christ, USA;
Raul Yzaguirre, National Council of La Raza;
Dr. Jane Smith, National Council of Negro Women;
Steve Protulis, National Council of Senior Citizens;
Michael Beattie, National Council of Students with Disabilities;
Gertrude S. Goldberg, National Jobs for All Coalition;
Curtis W. Ramsey-Lucas, National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA;
Loretta Putnam, National Multiple Sclerosis Society;
Patricia Ireland, National Organization for Women;
Bente E. Cooney, National Osteoporosis Foundation;
Patricia M. Smith, National Parent Network on Disabilities;
Donna Lenhoff, National Partnership for Women and Families;
Dr. C. Delores Tucker, National Political Congress of Black Women;
Burton D. Fretz, National Senior Citizens Law Center;
Hugh Price, National Urban League;
Nancy Duff Campbell, National Women's Law Center;
Anthony Wright, New Jersey Citizen Action;
Sen. Fred R. Harris, New Mexico Democratic Party;
Stanley Sheinbaum, New Perspectives Quarterly;
Barney Olmsted and Suzanne Smith, New Ways to Work;
Edward Wolff, New York University;
Marc Caplan, Northeast Action;
Rev. Robert J. Wilde, Northside Common Ministries;
Robert Wages, Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers;
Deborah Briceland-Betts, Older Women's League;
Charles Sheketoff, Oregon Center for Public Policy;
Karen Ferguson, Pension Rights Center;
Mike Lux, People for the American Way;
Mark Weisbrot, Preamble Center;
Herb Gunther, Public Media Center;
Jesse L. Jackson, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition;
Sheara Cohen, Rural Organizing Project;
Philip Harvey, Rutgers School of Law;
Dr. Joel Blau, School of Social Welfare, S.U.N.Y.;
Andrew Stem, Service Employees International Union;
Robert Myers, Social Security Administration;
Martin Carnoy, Stanford University;
Eric Kingson, Syracuse University;
Paul Marchand, The Arc and Chair, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities;
Harriet Barlow, The Blue Mountain Center;
Richard Leone, The Century Foundation;
Vivien Labaton, Third Wave Foundation;
Tom McCormack, Title II Community -AIDS National Network;
Joseph White, Tulane University School of Health and Tropical Medicine;
Jay Mazur, UNITE!;
Stephen P. Yokich, United Auto Workers;
Pat Conover, United Church of Christ;
Douglas H. Dority, United Food and Commercial Workers;
Jane Hull Harvey, United Methodist Church;
Bishop Felton Edwin May, United Methodist Church;
Anthony Samu, United States Student Association;
George Becker, United Steelworkers of America;
Chuck Collins, United for a Fair Economy;
Robert Pollin, University of Mass-Amherst;
Eugene Feingold, University of Michigan;
Martha Byam, University of New Hampshire;
Teresa Ghilarducci, University of Notre Dame;
Arlene Stein, University of Oregon;
James K Galbraith, University of Texas;
Ray Marshall, University of Texas;
Nelson Lichtenstein, University of Virginia;
Donald E. Wightman, Utility Workers Union of America;
Susan Shaer, WAND -Women's Action for New Direction;
Merton C. Bernstein, Washington Univ. in St. Louis;
Doug Fraser, Wayne State University;
Larry Marx, Wisconsin Citizen Action;
Rep. Nan Grogan Orrock (GA), Women Legislators' Lobby;
Anna Rhee, Women's Division, United Methodist Church;
Peter Barnes, Working Assets;
Deborah Kaplan, World Institute on Disability;
Theodore R. Marmor, Yale School of Management

The New Century Alliance for Social Security is a coalition of citizen leaders who have all signed a Statement of Principles to guide Social Security reform. It is a project of the Institute for America's Future.

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