THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Wednesday, February 17, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
SAVING SOCIAL SECURITY AND STRENGTHENING MEDICARE
I think we are at a moment in history when our future preference is being measured; when our historic responsibility to make a better future for ourselves and our children is being put to the test. I have no doubt the generations will measure up.
President Bill Clinton
February 17, 1999
Today, President Clinton will hold an event at the White House to discuss the importance of saving the majority of our future budget surpluses to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security and Medicare and pay down the national debt, helping reduce the future burden on young people and grow the economy for years to come.
Investing The Surplus For The Future. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to using this time of fiscal prosperity to secure our future. Rather than consuming the surplus for today, the Clinton-Gore Administration proposes to reserve nearly 90 percent of the projected budget surpluses -- almost $4 trillion -- over the next 15 years to help America meet our long-term retirement challenge. President Clinton proposes to reserve 62 percent of the surpluses for Social Security, 15 percent for Medicare, and 12 percent for USA Accounts. By practicing fiscal responsibility, the Administration's proposal will pay down nearly $3 trillion of our national debt. As a result, the publicly held debt will be cut by more than two-thirds and, as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), will fall from 44 percent today to 7.1 percent in 2014 --its lowest level since 1917.
The Clinton-Gore Plan Helps Ensure That Social Security Will Be There For Today's Young Americans. The President's proposal extends the life of the Social Security Trust Fund to 2055 and he is committed to working with Congress in a bipartisan way to further extend Social Security for 75 years. This will mean that a worker who is 20 years old today will be assured of a strong and stable benefit when he or she retires. In addition, the President's framework reserves 12 percent of the projected surpluses to create new Universal Savings Accounts (USAs) so that young people can begin saving and start building wealth to meet their future retirement needs.
Paying Down The National Debt Lifts An Enormous Burden Off Future Generations. During the 1980's and early 1990's, the federal debt quadrupled. Instead of continuing with the failed policies of debt and deficit, President Clinton put in place a bold, new economic strategy to cut the deficit, lower interest rates and spur economic growth. Now, President Clinton proposes to cut the debt held by the public, as share of the economy, to 7.1 percent in 2014. By doing so, future generations will benefit:
- The President's strategy will help grow the economy for our children. President Clinton's framework will cut the federal debt, thereby raising national savings. Higher national savings will mean lower interest rates, higher private-sector investment, and thus, higher economic growth in the future;
- President Clinton's strategy will cut interest payments our children pay on the federal debt. When President Clinton took office, interest payments on the federal debt were projected to eat up 27 cents of every budget dollar in 2014. Today, interest payments on the debt take up about 13 cents of every tax dollar. Under President Clinton's proposal, interest payments would shrink to just 2 cents on every dollar by 2014;
- The President's strategy will ensure that we do not leave a legacy of debt to our children. President Clinton's proposal would cut the debt held by the public, as a share of the economy, to 7.1 percent in 2014. This would mean that instead of leaving a mountain of debt for our children, we would completely eliminate the national debt by 2018.
Ensuring Social Security Continues To Help Young People Today. President Clinton's plan promises that Social Security will continue to provide both disability and survivor's insurance protection to workers and their families. For an average young family with two small children, Social Security provides benefits which are the equivalent to a payout of $300,000 from each a disability and survivor's insurance policy (or $600,000 in total). By strengthening Social Security, President Clinton's plan ensures that Social Security will continue to provide our parents and grandparents with a stable benefit --without which many would become dependent on their children for support.