Retiree Leader: Deficit Panel Should Support Social Security and Medicare

February 18, 2010

For Immediate Release              

Retiree Leader: Deficit Panel Should Support Social Security and Medicare

Questions Objectivity of Commission Co-Chair Alan Simpson

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to President Obama signing an Executive Order creating the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
 
"Retirees fully support President Obama on the critical need to reduce our nation's budget deficit.  Older Americans have always been uncomfortable with large debt, both in government and in their own families.

"We are, however, wary of the objectivity that Commission Co-Chair Alan K. Simpson will bring to this important assignment.  As a Senator, Simpson referred to older Americans as 'greedy geezers' and launched bitter and protracted assaults against advocacy groups for seniors.  Social Security benefits would have been cut under his plan to change the statistical formula used to calculate Cost-of-Living Adjustments.
 
"The Alliance for Retired Americans strongly encourages the Commission to examine the full range of tax and spending policies that led to these large deficits.  Since 1983, American workers have paid enough Social Security payroll taxes to accumulate a $2.5 trillion surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund.  We hope the Commission will accurately point out the reckless fiscal decisions made over the last decade that got us to this point.

"We believe that if the Commission takes a thorough and honest look at Social Security and Medicare, it will conclude that these vital programs should be strengthened, not weakened.  Social Security and Medicare are two of our nation's greatest success stories, helping generations of seniors stay healthy and out of poverty. 

"To improve Social Security and Medicare for current and future retirees, we should consider raising the cap on Social Security payroll taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and reign in Medicare costs by passing a strong health reform bill that will improve both our physical health, and our nation’s fiscal health.

"Retirees do not want these large debts to be the legacy they leave to their children and grandchildren.  The Alliance for Retired Americans looks forward to working with the Commission to improve our nation’s economy and the quality of life for all Americans."

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Contact: David Blank (202) 637-5275 or dblank@retiredamericans.org 


The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well being of over 4 million retirees and their families.