Social Security Benefits Based on Race and Gender? 41 Members of Congress Ask the President to Denounce Chairman Thomas’s Plan

Jan 28, 2005
Press Release
 WASHINGTON, DC - House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (CA-22) has repeatedly broached the idea of adjusting Social Security benefits to Americans based on their race or gender - cutting payments to women because of their longer life span, for instance. As President Bush prepares his own Social Security overhaul proposal, 41 Members of Congress led by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) and Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) today urged him to publicly repudiate Chairman Thomas’s scheme, which threatens to hurt some Americans who need Social Security benefits the most (PDF of letter).  

“Basing Social Security on gender and race is un-American,” said Maloney. “Any plan to alter Social Security by withholding from women and minorities ought to be a non-starter. The chairman’s scheme has no place in any serious discussion of the future of Social Security.”

Social Security earned by women and minorities during their working lifetime keeps millions out of poverty. Women workers are twice as likely than men to live below the poverty line and to depend on Social Security as their sole means of support. Furthermore, for African-Americans, Social Security cuts the poverty rate from 59 percent to 21 percent.