"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
Social Security’s 78th Birthday Receives Generous Attention
August 16, 2013
Social Security’s 78th Birthday Receives Generous Attention
Social Security’s birthday on Wednesday received considerable attention on the state and national level. The Alliance for Retired Americans marked the anniversary with over 40 events in 22 states and by releasing special state-by-state reports with ally Social Security Works.
The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans made news in Panama City on Wednesday when they brought a cake, signs and numerous speakers to demonstrate their strong opposition to any cuts to Social Security, especially in the form of the chained CPI, in front of Rep. Steve Southerland’s (R-FL) office. AFSCME Retirees, the National Organization for Women (NOW), NAACP, Social Security Works, and numerous other partners joined FLARA at this event. “Social Security helps me get by – I’m very grateful for it. It is both sad and disgusting to me that politicians in Washington are talking about cutting one of the best programs we ever created. We should expand benefits by scrapping the payroll tax cap,” said Barbara DeVane, Secretary, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans. Harriett Myers of the Bay County National Organization for Women (NOW) pointed out to the crowd, “Cuts to Social Security are especially harmful to women. On average women live longer than men, rely more on income from Social Security, and are more likely to be poor. Cuts to Social Security through the chained CPI or other measure would be a real disaster for women.”
The Montana Alliance for Retired Americans teamed up with the Montana Organizing Project for birthday celebrations in 7 different cities on Wednesday. Check out photos from events around the country on Facebook here or on the web.
The 2013 Social Security Works state reports include information that public officials, members of the press and advocates will find very useful for explaining the program’s history and vitality. They include real-life stories and statistics on the number of beneficiaries and types of benefits in each state, county and congressional district. Find your report here or look over the national here.
Ross Eisenbrey of the Economic Policy Institute said it well this week in his article “Social Security is the Only Reason Most Americans Can Afford to Retire” - as businesses do away with defined benefit pension plans, more and more Americans turn to to savings in 401(k)-type accounts and Social Security remains the great equalizer - the most reliable and equitable system of retirement savings. While 401(k)-type retirement accounts exacerbate economic inequality, Social Security does just the opposite. “The dialogue is finally shifting away from benefit cuts to increasing benefits as Tom Harkin and Mark Begich propose. This can and should be done by scrapping the cap on income subject to the Social Security tax,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. You can support the measure here.
North Carolina Governor Signs Law that Threatens the Voting Rights of Seniors
This week, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation modifying the state’s requirements for voting. The new law requires all voters to have a government-issued photo ID. It also shortens the early voting period from 17 days to 10 and ends same-day registration. The law will take effect in 2016. As discussed in last week’s Friday Alert, the US Supreme Court recently issued a decision striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, clearing the way for the North Carolina legislation and similar bills around the country. To learn more about the new North Carolina law, read this Washington Post article.
“All around the country, the fundamental right to vote is under attack, and older Americans are seriously concerned. Shortening the early voting period makes voting difficult for seniors who are not able to easily get to a polling station,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “This type of voter suppression is just wrong. It is time for Congress to pass new legislation strengthening the Voting Rights Act, reversing the Supreme Court’s misguided decision.”
AFL-CIO to Target Six Republican Governors in 2014
The AFL-CIO announced that it will focus special attention on defeating six Republican governors in the 2014 elections. The governors are: Rick Scott (FL), Rick Snyder (MI), Scott Walker (WI), Paul LePage (ME), John Kasich (OH), and Tom Corbett (PA.) All six of them have worked to implement a far right agenda, despite representing moderate states that were carried by Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. For more of the story, see Politico’s coverage.
“These six men have aggressively pursued policies that are not just anti-union, they are also anti-senior. They have slashed state budgets and cut essential programs, while simultaneously cutting taxes for their wealthy friends and benefactors. Seniors are a key demographic in midterm elections, and in 2014 we will push back against these harmful policies by removing the governors from office,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans.
Billy Feitlinger, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans said, “Governor Scott Walker has made it crystal clear that he is far more interested in taking care of large corporations and wealthy Wisconsin citizens than making sure seniors have property tax relief or making prescription drugs more affordable for them. Our members are experiencing the ill effects of Walker’s reign and will be very engaged in the 2014 elections.”
Contact Your Members of Congress During Summer Recess
Congress is in recess until Sept. 6th, and many legislators are holding town halls and other events in their districts. Call your members of Congress to find out if they are going to be at any events in your area in the upcoming weeks. These events are great opportunities to remind your representatives how important Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are to their constituents. Find contact information for your members of Congress.