Social Security Financing Legislation Letter to Congressional Leaders.
I would like to commend you and your colleagues for the progress which has been made on the social security financing legislation I proposed to Congress. I am confident that an effective and equitable bill can emerge from the conference committee.
I believe that it is very important that a social security financing bill be enacted before the end of this year. The continuing problems of the system have eroded public confidence leading many persons to fear that their benefits will not be available when they need them. It is incumbent on us to restore that confidence.
As you know, I submitted to Congress a set of proposals designed to restore the financial integrity of the social security system and keep it strong into the next century. Those measures sought to increase revenues without burdening the average worker and his employer, and reduce expenditures by correcting a flaw which caused double-indexing for inflation. I am pleased to note that the House and Senate versions of the bill incorporate many of these proposals.
I am nevertheless deeply concerned about provisions in the House and Senate bills which would unwisely add to the tax burden borne by all workers and employers, in order to increase benefits for a relative few. These proposed increases are all well intentioned, but we cannot afford them at the present time. The benefit increases called for in the two bills could cost from $7-$10 billion a year by 1983. As a direct result of these increases in expenditures the new tax rates imposed on today's already burdened workers and employers are higher than they need be.
The bill also contains a new income tax credit and an amendment to the veterans pension law which add an additional $1-$2 billion to the cost of the legislation.
I call upon the members of the House and Senate to join me in developing a final fiscally responsible social security financing bill which will be less burdensome to the workers and employers who must pay the taxes, and adequate to restore public confidence in the financial integrity of the social security system. Secretary Califano and his staff stand ready to work with the members of the conference committee in its deliberations.
Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Robert C. Byrd, Senate majority leader, the Honorable Russell B. Long, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the Honorable Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Honorable Al Ullman, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The text of the letters was made available by the White House Press Office. It was not issued in the form of a White House press release.
Jimmy Carter, Social Security Financing Legislation Letter to Congressional Leaders. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242883