"There is no Social Security crisis. It can pay all benefits in-full and on-time until 2036," Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, told the People's World in a recent interview.
"Social Security is about preventing people from becoming poor in the first place," Altman said. (See video below.)
As the manufactured deficit-debate crisis rages in Washington, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other vital public services are being attacked as too expensive.
Republicans claim that these "costly entitlement programs" cannot be sustained. They want to leave senior citizens, the disabled and the poor to fend for themselves.
While unions, community groups, senior citizens and young workers acknowledge that the deficit is a real concern for many Americans, they argue that the real problem is a lack of revenue. They say we should raise taxes on corporations and the rich before discussing any benefit cuts.
Altman linked the attacks on Social Security and similar programs with the recent wave of attacks on unions and public services. It is all part of an "ideological attack" on the "role of government," she said, adding, "We would not have any of these programs without unions." (Text continues below video)
Altman, who has worked for 30 years in the areas of pensions and Social Security, is currently chair of the board of directors of the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of beneficiary rights.
From 1983 to 1989, Altman taught courses on private pensions and Social Security at Harvard Law School. She served as Alan Greenspan's assistant in his position as chairman of the bipartisan commission that developed the 1983 Social Security amendments. From 1977 to 1981, Altman was a legislative assistant to Senator John C. Danforth, R-Mo., advising him on Social Security related issues.
Photo: Tony Pecinovsky/PW