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2, 1998 2:15 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: General Board of Church and Society The United Methodist Church
Shanta M. Bryant (202) 488-5630
|Women Deserve Fair and Equitable Treatment Under Social Security|
- December 2 - This is a statement of Jane Hull Harvey, assistant general
secretary of the General Board of Church and Society The United Methodist
In the United States, millions of aged and disabled persons, especially women, depend on the US Social Security system for the basic necessities of life. For many older women, in particular, the Social Security system is often the one program that stands between them and poverty. Today, the livelihood of millions of older women is being threatened by proposals to privatize the existing federal retirement program. The proposals would replace a portion or all of the Social Security program with a new system of personal retirement accounts that would undermine the financial security of older women.
Women over the age of 65 are already in poverty at twice the rate of men over 65. While the current system is not perfect, it recognizes the inequity that most women face since they are more likely to spend fewer years in the workforce and earn less than men when they do work. Women are also likely to live longer lives than men in the United States. Most of the privatization proposals now before the US Congress make no provisions for these differences between men and women and, we believe, would make the poverty problem worse. In fact, any system that relies even partially on privatizing the social security system with personal savings accounts would perpetuate these differences into retirement, leaving most women to bear an inequality of sacrifice for their entire lives.
The United Methodist Social Principles urges social policies and programs that would ensure the aging the respect and dignity that is their right as senior members of society; affirms the need to support those in distress; and calls for the equal treatment of men and women in every aspect of their common life. Nowhere in the social order in this country do these three issues converge so dramatically as in the current debate over the future of Social Security.
The General Board of Church and Society affirms that the current Social Security system has protections for women which are not present in the privatization plans ó lifetime benefits, dependentsí benefits, progressive benefits formula and adjustments for inflation. The current protections will benefit women greatly into the next century and beyond. We need a retirement system that will improve the status of women, not privatization plans that would break a system that currently is not broken.
Only General Conference speaks for the entire denomination. The General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church is denominationís the international social action agency.
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