Jersey Journal

Sen. Robert Menendez And Hoboken Seniors Salute Social Security On Its 75th Anniversary

The Jersey Journal — Friday, August 13, 2010

By ANNA YUKHANANOV
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez joined Hoboken seniors and others to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Social Security in the United States and emphasize that it must be preserved in the future.

The celebration, complete with a birthday cake, was one of 100 events taking place across the country this month to commemorate the anniversary.

Social Security was started in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is funded through payroll taxes.

"We're here to celebrate something that is a great American success story," Menendez said at a press conference yesterday.

"It is about giving dignity to people who have worked all their lives . And it's a program that needs to continue to be maintained for future generations."

Several seniors and advocates shared stories of how Social Security has allowed them to survive in retirement or with disabilities.

"With Social Security, my life changed dramatically," said Paulette Eberle, who is a widow in Jersey City and president of Next Step, a disability advocacy organization. "I no longer had to worry where my next meal was coming from.

"When we're younger, we all think that we're immortal. But it isn't true. As they approach retirement, we should allow our children to rest on the security that we have come to rely on."

The debate about Social Security has focused on future funding. By 2015, the program's expenses are expected to be greater than its revenues as baby boomers become retirees.

Menendez said he opposes privatizing the system, as some have suggested.

"Privatizing means taking something that is a guarantee and making it a risk in the market," he said. "We want to see a guaranteed Social Security, not a risky bet on Wall Street."

While the speakers at the Multi-Service Center at 124 Grand St. spoke about Social Security's future, seniors seemed more pessimistic.

"I worry about my sons," said Marie DeMeo, 86. "They're married. When they retire, what are they gonna get? Nothing."

Photo

REENA ROSE SIBAYAN – JOURNAL PHOTO:  U.S. SEN. Robert Menendez, right, joins seniors and advocates at the Hoboken Multi Service Center on Grand Street in celebrating the 75th anniversary of Social Security. From left are New Jersey Tenants Organization President Matt Shapiro, New Jersey Citizen Action Board of Directors Co-Chair Paulette Eberie, with her seeing-eye dog Prudy, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Political Director Rex Reid and New Jersey Citizen Action Director Phyllis Salowe-Kaye.

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