October 18, 2012Dear Senator:On behalf of millions of AARP members nationwide and all older Americans age 50 and
over, we write to reiterate AARP’s view that there should be no further extension of the
temporary Social Security payroll tax holiday set to expire at the end of this year.When Congress and the President originally enacted and then extended the temporarypayroll tax holiday, AARP recognized and appreciated that economic conditions hadbeen devastating for millions of Americans and that there was a need for short-termaction. In addition, our position on the temporary payroll holiday was contingent onseveral conditions in order to protect Social Security and its beneficiaries in both theshort and long-term.To prevent harm in the short term, AARP urged that any loss to the Social SecurityTrust Funds be fully repaid. The 2012 Social Security Trustees report earlier this year once again confirms that this condition has been met, with general fund transfers fromthe U.S. Treasury to the Social Security Trust Funds effectively holding the Trust Fundsharmless from the loss of revenue due to the temporary payroll tax holiday.
However, to avoid undermining Social Security’s long term funding stream, AARP also
urged that the payroll tax holiday remain temporary. In order to meet this condition,Congress should not extend the payroll tax holiday beyond the current year. Further extension of the payroll tax holiday would undermine confidence in Social Security and
put at risk the program’
s dedicated funding stream and the hard-earned benefits of millions of Americans and their families.While many Americans continue to struggle and our economy still has much room toimprove, AARP is encouraged by recent economic indicators that point to astrengthening recovery. In particular, we are encouraged by the recent announcementby the Department of Labor that the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 7.8% -- itslowest level since January 2009 -- and the September 2012 report by the Institute for Supply Management highlighting the expansion of economic activity in the U.S.manufacturing sector. Should a consensus emerge that -- despite these indicators --the economy would benefit from continued assistance to workers, we strongly urge thatgoal
be achieved through means other than a reduction in Social Security’s dedicated
funding stream, the payroll rate.