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January 27, 1999

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We are living in an American renaissance. Our nation is more prosperous than at any time in our history. The best way to keep our economy strong is to invest, not spend, our good fortune. By saving the money we will need to save Social Security and Medicare, over the next 15 years we will achieve the lowest level of publicly-held debt since 1917 ... The right thing to do for our seniors is the right thing to do for our nation.

President Bill Clinton
January 27, 1999

Today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore hold a roundtable forum in the East Room of the White House to discuss the plan outlined in the President's State of the Union address to ensure the solvency of Social Security until 2055 and strengthen Medicare until 2020.

Save Social Security Now. In the President's State of the Union addresses, he proposed a framework for ensuring Social Security's solvency until 2055 by:

  • Transferring 62 percent of the projected budget surpluses over the next 15 years -- more than $2.7 trillion -- to the Social Security system and investing a portion of the transferred surpluses in the private sector to achieve higher returns for Social Security.

Today, a memo from the Deputy Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration confirms their analysis that the President's plan extends the life of the Social Security trust fund by 23 years, from 2032 to 2055. The President believes we must work on a bipartisan basis to make the difficult decisions necessary to extend the life of Social Security until at least 2075, while reducing poverty among single elderly women and eliminating the limit on what older Americans on Social Security can earn.

Strengthening Medicare For The 21st Century. Medicare faces the same "senior boom" that Social Security does. The President's plan commits 15 percent of the projected budget surpluses to the Medicare program as part of a broad-based effort to ensure Medicare's solvency for the next 20 years, and implement important reforms to the system, including, market-oriented purchasing tools, additional savings, and long-overdue prescription drug benefits. In a letter released today, the Chief Actuary of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) confirmed that under the President's plan, Medicare's solvency would be extended to 2020, doubling the period of its solvency.

Providing Tax Relief For Retirement Security. The President's plan will not only extend Social Security well into the 21st Century and strengthen Medicare for the next 20 years, it will also prepare Americans for the challenges of the future by:

  • Encouraging Americans To Save And Invest From Their First Day On The Job. President Clinton is proposing that we use 12 percent of the surplus -- more than $500 billion, to establish Universal Savings Accounts -- USA Accounts -- to give all Americans the means to save and invest from their first day on the job. With these new accounts, Americans can invest as they choose and receive funds to match a portion of their savings -- with more help for lower-income workers;
  • Addressing Important Military And Domestic Issues. Once Social Security reform has occurred, the President's plan would reserve 11 percent of projected surpluses for military readiness and other pressing domestic needs.

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