"Social Security has been one of the most effective social programs of all time," she told about 50 people gathered in the school's auditorium at 14-30 Broadway, with guest speaker David Kallick of the Fiscal Policy Institute.Maloney cited statistics that Social Security has reduced poverty among seniors from 50 percent to 8 percent and that for a majority of seniors, the checks make up the bulk of their income.Criticizing the president's proposal to move the Social Security program away from federal jurisdiction and put into the hands of private investment accounts, Maloney said the privatization would dismantle a "remarkably efficient" system."The administration is blatantly misrepresenting the facts in order to scare Americans into taking apart the system that has provided all working Americans with financial support in their old age," she said. "Social Security, as it is now, is remarkably efficient."Maloney said Democratic leaders were willing to compromise if the president and his Republican cohorts would stop pushing privatization of Social Security."If the privatization proposal comes off the table, the people may be willing to talk about ways to ensure that Social Security is there for our children and grandchildren," she said.Area residents in attendance, many of whom were already receiving Social Security benefits, said they were eager for more information on the future of the program, even if the changes are decades away."I got to know this," said Astoria resident Erna Koelbl. "I'm 76 years old now, and life gets harder."And if Social Security does not provide for her, Koelbl said she has a back-up plan."My slogan is the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want," she said.Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@times
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