"Raising the retirement age would inflict further hardship among a group of workers who are likely to face health and economic problems in their 60s." –Doug Hart, President, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans
"Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the greatest is that it is bad for seniors." - Dave Meinell, President, Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans
"My father died when I was three. Because of Social Security (survivors) benefits, my Mom, my younger sister and I survived." – Diane Fleming, DC Alliance Member
"We fear that Congress will balance the budget on the backs of the 98 percent, which is working Montanans and retired Montanans. We simply cannot afford these devastating cuts to vital services such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," –John Forkan, President, Montana Alliance for Retired Americans
"Along with national parks and Social Security, Medicare is one of the best ideas we Americans have ever devised." -Tim Cunningham, New Mexico Alliance Member
"Seniors have earned and deserve their Social Security checks, and they shouldn't have to go to Congress every 10 years and beg for the program to be renewed." –James Parent, Alliance for Retired Americans Regional Board Member
"Today's retirees paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck we ever earned. Now that we are retired, these programs help us to be able to stay healthy and pay our bills. They are the promise we make to people who worked hard all their lives, and we need to keep that promise for today’s workers." –Tony Fransetta, President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
"Today's seniors want to lower the budget deficit. We do not want a large debt to be the legacy we leave to future generations, but we should not punish people who have paid Social Security taxes all their lives." –Jim Moore, President, North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans
"Social Security should remain what it has been for 77 years – a solid, reliable way that generations of workers have been able to retire with dignity, economic security, and peace of mind." –Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The fight for Social Security and Medicare is part of a larger fight for justice and fairness"—Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The health insurance reform helps not just seniors, but also middle-class families and young Americans, who are just starting to see the benefits. Don’t let Republicans take all that away." –Don Rowen, President Emeritus, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
"Honoring the promise of Social Security and Medicare should not be a partisan issue. Honoring the contributions that we make throughout our working years so that we may feed and clothe ourselves, keep a roof over our heads and those of our family, there is no reason for that to be a hotly contested partisan issue." –Edward Coyle, Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans
"We need to make sure that people who need Social Security to make ends meet will have it, and not fall victim to ill-informed and unnecessary cuts to these vital programs."
–Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
Paul Ryan is Booed at AARP Conference
September 21, 2012
On Friday afternoon, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan addressed AARP’s National Annual Conference in New Orleans. In his remarks, he attacked President Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare, but did not say that he had included the same cuts in his own budget. He also stated, on the record, that he is for raising the retirement age. The address was not well-received. Audience members called Ryan a “liar,” told him to “go home,” and booed his critique of President Obama and health reform.
“Paul Ryan told a lot of lies at the AARP Conference today,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “But even when he told the truth, he said things that seniors don’t want to hear: for instance, that he wants to change seniors’ guaranteed Medicare benefits into a voucher system.” To see the thinkprogress.org video with the audience’s reaction, go to http://bit.ly/Q2jxMs. To read the statement from Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance, go to http://bit.ly/RJQudb.
Thinking He’s not on Camera, Romney Offends Seniors
Just hours after Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign attempted an image makeover on Monday, it found itself under attack over a secretly recorded video of the candidate describing 47% of the electorate as “dependent on government,” because they don't pay federal income taxes. He continued, “My job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” The remarks were first reported by Mother Jones. Watch the video here: http://bit.ly/SVb2WB.
Mr. Coyle responded, “Mitt Romney’s offensive comments show his true colors, a callous indifference to millions of hard-working Americans. No, Mitt Romney, retirees who receive Social Security and Medicare are not ‘dependent’ – rather they are proud men and women who paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck they ever earned.” To see Mr. Coyle's full statement, go to http://bit.ly/QzaYGh.
Many of those “non-income-taxpayers” pay higher overall taxes than Romney, once payroll and state taxes are taken into account. Seniors benefiting from Medicare and Social Security (and not paying taxes on Social Security benefits) did pay taxes throughout their working lives. Leon Burzynski, President of the Wisconsin Alliance, joined a college student and a veteran on a tele-press conference call with reporters on Tuesday to drive home that point. The call contained the message that most seniors paid payroll taxes, from which much of Romney’s income is exempt.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orders Lower Court to Reconsider Voter ID Law
It's not enough that state officials told a judge they would make identification available to voters, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said on Tuesday, ordering a lower court to again consider stopping the voter ID law. The justices wrote that the Commonwealth Court must review how a new ID has been made available and whether it still believes the law will allow all legitimate votes to count. If not, the Supreme Court wrote, Pennsylvania's new law must be halted.
Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance, noted the difficulty of all eligible voters in getting an ID before Election Day, but said, “It's encouraging that the court recognizes that there are serious problems with this law.”
As Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law was returned to the lower court for reconsideration, its original sponsor, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R), offended many listeners on KDKA Radio Wednesday morning, saying that his law will only disenfranchise “lazy” people.
Letter from Senators to Other Senators Opposes Social Security Cuts
Senators Bernie Sanders (VT), Mark Begich (AK), and Al Franken (MN) held a press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday to release a Social Security “Dear Colleague” letter, opposing the inclusion of Social Security cuts in any deficit reduction package. To see the letter, go to http://1.usa.gov/Ptev9S.
Alliance Events around the Country: Missouri, Florida, Wisconsin
On Tuesday, the Missouri Alliance protested the “$10 Million a Minute” bus tour at Washington University, objecting to the tour leaders’ call for severe cuts in Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ benefits to reduce the debt. The protest also included members of Grass Roots Organizing, Gray Panthers of Kansas & Western Missouri, Veterans for Peace, Social Security Works, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare.
The next day, unable to speak with anyone from Sen. Marco Rubio’s staff about seniors’ issues, Florida Alliance members joined members of the Florida New Majority Education Fund and South Florida Jobs with Justice to protest outside the Senator’s Palm Beach Gardens office. The twenty activists then went inside, and the District Director did meet with them to discuss Medicare, Social Security, housing and health care. FLARA President Tony Fransetta served as spokesperson.
The Wisconsin Alliance held four intergenerational events this week, focusing on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on seniors, kids and grandkids.
Colorado Alliance Holds its Convention
The Colorado Alliance held its annual convention on September 13th, with approximately 70 members in attendance in Denver. John Stoffel was re-elected as Vice President and Bob Young as Treasurer. President Frank Lay recognized Grandparents Day in his remarks. Ken Debey and Dean Ames of the Lobby Committee made a presentation to 24 Colorado Legislators, recognizing their 100% voting record on Senior Issues during the 2012 legislative session.
Weekend Rally with Rep. Berkley in Nevada
Mr. Coyle attended a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday with Rep. Shelley Berkley and Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME.
For a printable copy, click here.