"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, former 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
Time to Nip the Next Example of Income Inequality in the Bud
December 05, 2013
For Immediate Release
Ending Attacks on Federal Workers’ Pensions is a Good Place to Start Restoring the Middle-Class
Washington, DC – With the Budget Conference Committee, set up to resolve differences in House and Senate spending plans, preparing to meet next week, Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) have proposed increasing federal employees' contribution toward their retirement program from 0.8 percent to 2.0 percent of pay over three years. Their plan would also eliminate the Federal Employee Retirement System Annuity Supplement for new employees and provide a more conservative formula, the chained CPI, for the calculation of inflation-adjusted retirement benefits.
In short, the two are proposing to more than triple what federal employees pay for their pension. This would amount to taking $20 billion from federal workers.
Congress can and should end the Sequester by capping contractor pay and closing the tax loopholes for big corporations that ship jobs overseas or park hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign bank accounts. Middle income federal employees have already paid their fair share many times over.
Already, the federal workforce has contributed $114 billion toward deficit reduction and economic recovery - far more than any other group in America has been asked to sacrifice.
Promised pension benefits are being cut across the country. In Michigan, a judge ruled this week that Detroit, as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, can cut monthly pension benefits that have been promised to the city's retirees.
The ruling will allow the city to reduce pensions for retired city workers in spite of protections in the state constitution.
Public-sector union leaders around the country are watching the developments in Detroit closely, as the case could be a bellwether for other municipal bankruptcy cases.
According to Emmanuel Saez, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Equitable Growth at the University of California Berkeley, average inflation-adjusted income per family climbed 6% between 2009 and 2012, the first years of the economic recovery. During that period, the top 1% saw their incomes climb 31.4% — or, 95% of the total gain — while the bottom 99% saw growth of 0.4%.
“We cannot have a race to the bottom, where 99% of the population accepts benefit cuts so that the wealthiest 1% can buy an extra yacht,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.
“Many middle-class retirees in the U.S. are exasperated at the growing income inequality in our country, and economists are searching for ways to address the problem,” said Fiesta.
“A good place to start will be rejecting attempts to force federal workers to pay 5.5 percent more for retirement. We need to nip these cuts in the bud now, before income inequality becomes even more severe.”
Contact: David Blank – 202/637-5275 or firstname.lastname@example.org