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Social Security Generates Billions for Wisconsin’s Economy

SS Multiplier

Did you know that each dollar paid to Social Security beneficiaries in Wisconsin generates nearly $2 dollars in spending by individuals and businesses, adding about $28.1 billion in total economic output to the Wisconsin – and about $1.4 trillion to the national economy – in 2012?

A new report releasedthis week by AARP’s Public Policy Institute  also finds the $15.6 billion paid in Social Security benefits in 2012 helped Wisconsinites keep or find more than 195,000 jobs.

The report – titled Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy – details the powerful multiplier effect created when Social Security recipients spend their benefits and the companies which 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.

Our AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson is visiting Capitol Hill offices this week to deliver the report to our Members of Congress. Sam will also voice AARP’s concerns about the chained CPI, a change proposed in budget negotiations that would cut Social Security benefits. Our AARP office is also sending volunteers out across the state to deliver thousands of petitions representing Wisconsinites opposed to the chained CPI to our congressional district offices.

“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,” Sam will tell our legislators. “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.”

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 millions more. About 790,000 older Wisconsinites rely on Social Security.

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 on methodology here and the Wisconsin Social Security fact sheet. Additional resources are available at and

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