Ohio Retiree Reaction to State of Union: Don’t Balance Budget on Backs of Seniors

January 27, 2010

Ohio Retiree Reaction to State of Union:
Don’t Balance Budget on Backs of Seniors

The following statement was issued today by David Friesner, President of the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans in response to budget deficit proposals in President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“Ohio retirees support President Obama’s call to reduce the federal budget deficit. They are very uncomfortable with large debt, and do not want to leave behind such a legacy to their children and grandchildren.

“We cannot, however, balance the budget on the back of America’s seniors. Vital programs such as Social Security and Medicare did not cause these large deficits. Reckless tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and to large corporations bear much of the blame.

“Since their creation, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have worked well to keep millions of America’s seniors healthy and out of poverty. 2 million Ohioans receive Social Security every month, and two in three seniors receive half or more of their income from Social Security. One in five receive all of their income from Social Security. Medicare has reduced senior poverty by two-thirds.

“The reason why Medicare costs are rising is our national failure to reform health care. We must pass a strong health reform bill immediately. It will improve not only our physical health, but also our nation’s fiscal health.

“What is needed is better health care that is comprehensive, coordinated, and customer centered. In Ohio we need to spend the state Medicaid dollars more wisely and emphasize community based care over more expensive nursing homes.

“Americans of all ages have seen their retirement savings badly damaged by Wall Street’s reckless behavior and unchecked greed. We must strengthen – not weaken – retirement savings in this country, including private pensions and 401(k) plans. As distrust in government rises, it is more important than ever that our government honors its commitments to Americans of all ages.

“The Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans looks forward to working with the Ohio congressional delegation and the Obama Administration to improve our economy and the quality of life for current and future retirees.”