Under a fully privatized plan, she would collect roughly $1,050 a month; under Social Security today, she can expect to collect $600 a month. So much for Social Security’s supposedly progressive benefit structure.
In a recent letter to President Clinton, 39 House Democrats, all women, urged the president to pay attention to the impact that Social Security reforms would have on women. That’s sound advice, since women depend disproportionately on Social Security for retirement income.
Four in 10 unmarried women rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their retirement income, compared to just 29% of unmarried men. What’s more, the poverty rate among elderly women is twice the rate among elderly men. And women receive lower Social Security benefits than men do: $621 per month vs. $810, on average.
Women have the most at stake in any Social Security reform effort. And reforms that would merely tinker with the system, raising payroll taxes or cutting benefits, simply reduce the value of an already inadequate benefit.
Any serious proposal for full privatization includes a safety net that will protect any worker, male or female, in the event of misfortune. But the beauty of privatization is that it goes beyond the government’s safety net — it gives every worker the ability to save, to invest and to achieve real financial independence.
Women should be free to choose to place 10% of their income in private, interest‐bearing accounts or stay in the current system. Privatization would provide a fully funded safety net and still give women the ability to earn as much as four times what they would get from Social Security.
The battle for privatization is fundamentally a battle for control: Will politicians continue to control the retirement income of American women? Or will American women gain control over their own retirement destinies?
Those who oppose the privatization movement will take their place in the dark pages of American history alongside those short‐sighted individuals in the 19th century who would have denied women their right to attend universities, own property and vote.
Privatization of Social Security would benefit almost all women
Accrued Retirement Income of Mean‐Income Women with Full Earnings Histories