NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 23, 2005

Most members of Congress and the American people agree that the Social Security surplus should go to Social Security, says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and its Social Security Subcommittee.

On Wednesday, Ryan along with senior members of the Social Security Subcommittee, unveiled the GROW (Growing Real Ownership for Workers) Accounts Act, which does just this. Several senators are introducing similar legislation.

GROW's legislation is guided by three basic principles:

  • The Social Security surplus should only be used for Social Security.
  • The surplus should not be used to fund other government programs.
  • The surplus should not be used to mask the true size of the national debt.

At the very least, the first step in saving Social Security must be to make sure all of Social Security's taxes go to Social Security, rather than to other federal spending. Ultimately, this proposal takes that first step, says Ryan.

Today, and for the next 12 years or so, workers will be overpaying their payroll taxes, thereby contributing to the Social Security surplus. GROW proposes giving workers under the age of 55 the choice of having their Social Security surplus distributed to their Social Security Personal Retirement Account (or GROW Account) in the form of risk-free marketable Treasury bonds.

This means willing workers would have real assets that they own, which would go toward their Social Security retirement benefits. These accounts would be the property of the workers, and they would be fully inheritable. With GROW accounts, workers would own these assets that would help them pre-fund their Social Security retirement benefits, says Ryan.

Source: Paul Ryan, "Surpluses should go to you: Accounts would belong to workers, and they'd be totally inheritable," USA Today, June 23, 2005.


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