New Online Resource Details Social Security’s Economic Impact in States and Counties Nationwide
July 22, 2016
“Amid all the promises and platitudes about improving our economy and addressing the fiscal challenges facing American families offered at the Republican Party’s national convention, it’s very telling that the critical role Social Security plays in average Americans’ lives was virtually ignored. In fact, whenever the GOP referenced Social Security at all, the focus was on cutting benefits and, as suggested in the party platform, privatizing the program. You can’t talk seriously about a strong economy without acknowledging the role our nation’s most effective anti-poverty program plays in communities from coast to coast. That’s why release of a new online tool, Social Security Spotlight, is so important in providing vital information about Social Security’s economic impact nationwide.”...Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO.
Social Security’s economic contributions to communities, counties, and states continue to be misunderstood and often ignored in Washington’s fiscal debates. A new online report unveiled today by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation provides a detailed look at the significant economic impact generated by Social Security benefits. Social Security Spotlight delivers data on beneficiaries by state, county, Congressional district, race/ethnicity, age and gender. Also available are the Economic Stimulus Impact for each state, and the Regional Support Index (RSI) which illustrates the level of support that Social Security provides to all residents of a given state or county. This comprehensive data details what America’s retirees, people with disabilities, survivors and their families know first-hand -- Social Security plays a vital economic role for families, communities and businesses throughout America.
In 2014 alone, Social Security delivered a $1.6 trillion fiscal boost nationwide as benefits were spent and cycled through the economy. The report’s impact estimates are adjusted for taxes and the composition of state economies, which affect how benefits are multiplied and generate additional economic activity. For example in 2014, California residents received $80.4 billion in benefits, which added $165.9 billion to the state economy. At the other extreme, District of Columbia residents received $1.1 billion in benefits, which generated $1.6 billion in economic activity. The Regional Support Index (RSI), shows that between 2008 and 2013, Social Security also played a growing economic role in the vast majority (nearly 94%) of counties’ throughout the nation. In fact, 34 states showed a high/medium RSI ranking, demonstrating how important Social Security’s stimulus and stabilization effects are to states large or small, and rural and urban residents.
Social Security Spotlight can be especially helpful during the 2016 election cycle for voters, journalists, policy makers and campaign staff as the future of Social Security is debated. There have been numerous policy proposals that could diminish the earned benefits in Social Security triggering financial losses not only for American workers, retirees, the disabled, and their families but also their communities, counties and states. Every Congressional and Presidential candidate will be encouraged to take a hard look at the economic impact numbers. Voters should also ask candidates and incumbents, “Can our community afford the economic hit which would come by cutting benefits?”
The Social Security Spotlight project was funded by a grant from the Retirement Research Foundation. The project has been guided by the Task Force on the Future of America’s Health and Retirement Security. Research was conducted by: Peter S. Arno, PhD, Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy Research at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare Foundation board member, and Andrew R. Maroko, PhD, Assistant Professor, City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.
The mission of the National Committee Foundation is to protect, promote, and ensure the financial security, health, and wellbeing of current and future generations of older Americans through research, analysis, and public education.
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