It is hard to overstate how critical Social Security is to women’s economic security. Social Security’s progressive, lifelong, inflation-adjusted, and virtually universal benefits help mitigate the impact of women’s lower lifetime earnings, longer average lifespan, and greater likelihood of living alone as they age. Social Security kept over 9 million older women, more than 1 in 5 of whom were women of color, out of poverty in 2017. That is why the executive order deferring employee’s payroll tax contributions is so troubling, especially considering the President’s statement that he would permanently eliminate payroll taxes if reelected. Deferring and potentially eliminating Social Security’s largest source of income will compromise the finances of this incredibly important program, yet does little for eligible workers and nothing for the millions of unemployed people who desperately need financial support during the recession.
During this unprecedented economic crisis, we should appreciate the value of stable, lifetime, inflation-adjusted benefits like Social Security – not look for ways to undermine them.