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Dear 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 When Congress and the President originally enacted and then extended the temporary payroll tax holiday, AARP recognized and appreciated that economic conditions had been devastating for millions of Americans and that there was a need for short-term action. In addition, our position on the temporary payroll holiday was contingent on several conditions in order to protect Social Security and its beneficiaries in both the short and long-term. To prevent harm in the short term, AARP urged that any loss to the Social Security Trust 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 from the U.S. Treasury to the Social Security Trust Funds effectively holding the Trust Funds harmless 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 to improve, AARP is encouraged by recent economic indicators that point to a strengthening recovery. In particular, we are encouraged by the recent announcement by the Department of Labor that the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 7.8% -- its lowest 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 that goal be achieved through means other than a reduction in Social Security’s dedicated funding stream, the payroll rate.
October 18, 2012 Page 2 of 2 As we continue to recover from difficult economic conditions, we must remember the critical importance of Social Security for both current and future generations of Americans. We must ensure that efforts to promote economic health do not undermine the single most important source of retirement and disability income for millions of workers and their families. If you have any questions, feel free to call me, or please have your staff contact Joyce Rogers, Senior Vice President of our Government Affairs office, at 202-434-3750. Sincerely,
A. Barry Rand