Friday, April 16, 2004

Murphy has Social Security fix


Congressional candidate proposes worker tax credits

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ERLANGER - Republican congressional candidate Kevin Murphy used Thursday - the deadline to file 2003 federal income tax returns - to roll out his plan to preserve Social Security.

"One of the things we buy with our tax money is Social Security," Murphy said in a teleconference with reporters. "But Social Security is in trouble. Without changes ... by the time today's 27-year-olds turn 65, the Social Security trust funds will have been completely exhausted."

Murphy stressed that his plan does not call for the so-called privatization of Social Security.

Instead, workers paying into the system would be able to receive a refundable tax credit equaling 4 percent of their wages up to $1,000. The credit would be deposited into a worker's private guaranteed account, Murphy said.

The money could be invested in stocks and high-grade corporate bonds, but Social Security taxes would continue to be invested in the Social Security system, he said.

That way workers will not have to worry about losing benefits when the value of stocks and bonds fall.

Murphy said the tax credit will help preserve the Social Security system, which faces a shortfall of $33 trillion over the next 75 years.

Murphy's plan also includes:

• Increasing the widow's benefit for low-wage workers.

• A child-care tax credit for stay-at-home mothers that equals 25 percent of their previous wages for up to five years. "That way," he said, "women who take time out of the work force to care for young children will have improved benefits when they retire."

• Eliminating the so called "earnings limitation" that penalizes some seniors. Under current law, workers 62-64 forfeit $1 of benefits for every $2 they earn over $11,520 a year.

"To me," he said, "its unconstitutional age discrimination."

Murphy is one of three Republican candidates in Northern Kentucky's 4th Congressional District. The others are Geoff Davis and John Kelly King. The winner of the Republican primary in May will face Democrat Nick Clooney in November. Clooney is unopposed.

The seat is now held by U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, who is leaving at the end of the year.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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