The ad is signed by Concord Coalition Co-Chairs, former Senators Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.) and Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), and Concord Coalition President Peter G. Peterson, former Secretary of Commerce. The full text of the ad, including five charts, is now available on-line. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) Excerpts from the ad follow:
“To the American voter: We at The Concord Coalition believe that an honest debate over Social Security reform ought to be at the center of this year's presidential campaign. Thus far, it has not been. The two candidates acknowledge the need for Social Security reform, but the only bottom-line changes they talk about are benefit expansions. They are avoiding the real challenge, which is to make the program affordable and sustainable in a much older America. The Concord Coalition offers you, the American voter, the following facts and questions to ask the candidates…
1. Every official projection shows that senior benefits, including Social Security, will claim a ballooning share of federal spending in the decades to come. What concrete measures do you propose to prevent these benefits from crowding out other spending?
2. What is your plan for redeeming Social Security's trust-fund IOUs after 2015, and does it rely on spending cuts, tax increases, or borrowing?
3. How do the middle-class tax cuts you're now pushing square with the enormous tax hikes that will soon be needed to pay for all the benefits that have been promised to seniors?
4. Given what's projected for the future of Social Security, do you think it's responsible to assure working Americans that they will retire with all of their promised benefits – and maybe more – without any increase in anyone's contributions?
5. Over the next 75 years, future Social Security deficits are projected to outweigh future Social Security surpluses in today's dollars by more than 20 to 1. How will your plan prevent a massive increase in federal debt?
These perspectives do not encompass, by any means, all the issues raised by Social Security reform. But The Concord Coalition believes they do provide an honest framework for debating the transformation that America's largest and oldest benefit program must undergo in order to fulfill its vital mission in the new century. You, the American voter, must choose. By facing up to genuine Social Security reform, you can compel the candidates to address the aging challenge while the economy is booming, the budget is in surplus, and the demographics are favorable. Or you can allow the candidates to engage in denial and diversion until the window of opportunity closes.”
The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grass roots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally responsible fiscal policy. The organization does not endorse, support or oppose candidates for public office or political parties.