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Social Security Generates Billions for Iowa's Economy

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A new study from the AARP Public Policy Institute calculates that each dollar paid to Social Security beneficiaries in Iowa generates nearly two dollars ($1.74) in spending by individuals and businesses, adding about $13.5 billion in total economic output to the Iowa economy – contributing to the $1.4 trillion total economic output Social Security added to the national economy – in 2012.  The report finds the $8.3 billion paid in Social Security benefits to Iowans in 2012 helped create or maintain more than 95,000 jobs.

Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy details the powerful multiplier effect created when Social Security recipients spend their benefits and the companies that receive those dollars spend their profits and pay their employees, who in turn spend their wages. The report provides both national and state-level data.

“This report tells us that any adjustments Washington makes to Social Security will have a profound effect on individuals of all ages, businesses and our economy as a whole,” said AARP State Director Kent Sovern.  “That’s why AARP is fighting the chained CPI and calling for a national conversation about the future of Social Security – so those who paid into the system can have a voice in the debate and so future generations get the benefits they’ve earned.”

AARP Iowa Associate State Director for Advocacy Anthony Carroll and AARP national leaders are visiting Capitol Hill offices today to deliver the report to Iowa's members of Congress, along with a summary report of comments from more than 3,000 Iowans on their concerns about Social Security and Medicare collected by AARP during the 2013 Iowa State Fair.  Starting this week and continuing over the next 78 days – in honor of Social Security’s 78th anniversary – AARP Iowa will be elevating the voices of Iowans about Social Security in daily social media activities.  In addition, AARP Iowa volunteers will also be delivering to more than 20,000 signed petitions to Congressional district offices representing Iowans opposed to the chained CPI.

Social Security benefit payments in 2012 supported more than $370 billion in salaries, wages and compensation for workers across the country. Of the more than nine million jobs supported by Social Security spending, about four million were in just ten industries. Nationally, the largest employment impacts were seen in the food services, real estate, health care and retail industries.

In addition to illustrating Social Security’s vital role in supporting national and local economies, jobs and workers’ incomes, this report reiterates the importance of Social Security as a vital source of income for millions of Americans. Social Security benefits keep 22 million people out of poverty, including more than 15 million older Americans, and serve as the foundation of a secure retirement for more than 435,929 Iowans age 65+ who receive Social Security benefits.

Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy uses an economic modeling system known as IMPLAN to calculate the multiplier effect and trace the impact of Social Security spending through the national and state economies. View the full report and details.

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