Motivated by news that the Social Security disability trust fund could run dry soon, I wrote to my federal representatives. So far, only President Obama replied. Although his reply doesn’t directly address my concerns about the disability trust fund, he shared his position on Social Security in general:
Thank you for writing. It’s clear you have faced great challenges, and I want you to know I am listening. I have heard from many Americans who are concerned about their financial security in retirement, and I want you to know I am listening.
As President, one of my top priorities is keeping Social Security a rock-solid, guaranteed progressive benefit that every American can rely on. However, a Social Security check often is not enough on its own. After a lifetime of hard work, too many Americans reach their golden years unable to supplement their Social Security and enjoy a secure retirement. At a time when Americans are largely responsible for making their own choices about how much to save and how to invest their savings, my Administration is making it easier to prepare for retirement. In every budget I’ve put forward since taking Office, I’ve proposed legislation that would give 30 million additional workers access to a workplace savings opportunity. And last year, the Treasury Department launched “myRA,” a simple, safe, and no-fee savings program that stays with you even if you switch jobs.
At the same time, families who act responsibly by building up their savings should be able to trust that the retirement advice they receive is in their best interest. But right now, outdated regulations allow brokers to put their own financial gain ahead of their clients’ retirement security—costing savers approximately $17 billion each year. That is why my Administration is updating the rules and requirements for retirement investment advice. The bottom line is that what you earn on the nest egg you’ve worked a lifetime to build should work for you, not anybody else.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts. A critical test of the strength of our economy is whether hardworking Americans feel confident in their retirement security. As long as I hold this Office, I’ll keep fighting to preserve the basic bargain that anyone who works hard all their life can enjoy a stable and secure retirement.
In all fairness, there’s little President Obama can do about the disability trust fund at this point. When the fund runs dry, he will have to make some executive decisions but he’ll nearly be leaving the Oval Office by then. In the meantime, he can only respond to what congress brings to the table.