August 1999 Home   Newsletters

September 1999

October 1999

An Agenda for Real Change: Hawaii Conference on Campaign Reform
League Support of Campaign Reform Featured in National Bulletin
President's Message (Grace Furukawa)
Action Alert: Special Legislative Alert for U.S. Hawaii Congress Members
Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
Welcome New Members
League of Women Voters is a Member of the HCALG (insert)

President's Message

Social Security Reform Discussion

League members attended a discussion about social security reform on August 21 in the League office. The agenda was to establish some common values about social security and then formulate proposed reforms based on those values.

League's position has always supported a federal role in providing mandatory, universal, old age, survivors, disability and health insurance. At the time the position was formed League was opposed to any privatizing of social security.

The August discussion group agreed that a) all generations of citizens should be able to count on a baseline income for old age as should the disabled and the survivors of beneficiaries, b) social security recipients should be allowed to live in dignity and not be in poverty, and c) any reform recommended should be managed by the federal government and not the private sector.

The following recommendations, or combination of recommendations, were suggested by a strong majority: One or more could be used to achieve 100% of social security income earned. All agreed that there should be no reduction in the cost of living adjustments.

Suggested method for reducing benefits:

  1. Increase retirement age to 68 by the year 2040
  2. Reduce benefits by 10% for a family earning $40,000 (or another larger figure) annually and an additional 10% for each additional $10,000 of earnings

Suggested method for increasing revenues:

  1. Eliminate the cap on taxable income and retain the current levels for receiving benefits
  2. Cover all newly hired state and local workers

As for any structural change to the current system:

All felt a percentage of the current surplus should be used to reduce the deficit, which will indirectly help social security.

Questions remaining after the discussion included:

  1. What would be the consequences for government of the various methods of increasing revenues for social security? (particularly eliminating the cap on taxable income and retaining current levels for receiving benefits?)
  2. Would it be constitutional to mandate all newly hired state and local employees join social security?
  3. What are the statistics on what an individual paid into the system vs what that individual receives?
  4. What would be the effects on business, especially small business, of any change in the social security taxes?

Results of the Board Decision about Moving

The Board of Directors of the Honolulu League decided that the most important issue to be resolved before considering the possibility of an office move is cleaning out the office. After that is completed, and we can see how much room we have, and need, then the idea of moving can again be considered.

A call is now out to all who worked on League issues in the past, and who have stored materials in the office, to come forward to decide what must be saved, what should be discarded, and what can be scanned to computer disc (archival). We will set up a schedule this fall for cleaning-out the files and shelves. We also want to thank those who called in to express their opinion on the issue.

Grace Furukawa

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