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President Obama calls for increasing Social Security benefits

Program should be more generous, wealthiest should pay cost

June 2, 2016 – Improving Social Security was a prominent subject in a speech on the economy yesterday by President Barack Obama, including his call to make it “more generous” and to “increase its benefits.”

The President spoke at Concord Community High School, Elkhart, Indiana, on the economy. He said, America’s economy is not just better than it was eight years ago, when it took office, “it is the strongest, most durable economy in the world.” 
He emphasized, however, “We can make it even stronger, and expand opportunity for even more people.  But to do that, we have to be honest about what our real challenges are, and we’ve got to make some smart decisions going forward.”

“We have to tackle retirement security.  That’s something that keeps a lot of people up at night.  That’s why we’ve taken actions already to make it easier for more workers to save through their jobs, to make sure that when you do save, you’re getting advice that’s not in Wall Street’s best interest, but in your best interest.

“But look, let’s face it -- a lot of Americans don’t have retirement savings.  Even if they’ve got an account set up, they just don’t have enough money at the end of the month to save as much as they’d like because they’re just barely paying the bills.  

“Fewer and fewer people have pensions they can really count on, which is why Social Security is more important than ever.  

“We can’t afford to weaken Social Security.  We should be strengthening Social Security.  And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned.

“And we could start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more.  They can afford it.  I can afford it.”

He said he has not been able accomplish all he hoped during his terms but said, “We've, frankly, been stuck with a Congress recently that's opposed pretty much everything that we’ve tried to do.”

The Republican Party proposed reductions in the Social Security program during both of Obama’s winning campaigns for President.

>> Full text of speech

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