"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
Vice Presidential Debate Highlights the Romney-Ryan Budget
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan got their turn in the spotlight Thursday night, debating the issues in a 90-minute session at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. They differed sharply over how best to ensure the solvency of Medicare and Social Security. Biden said the GOP Medicare plan, which would provide seniors a fixed amount of money to either buy into the government program or obtain private health insurance, amounted to a “voucher program” that he said would raise costs for future seniors.
“The Romney-Ryan plan would undo nearly 50 years of Medicare progress, fundamentally changing the program to take better care of CEOs’ wealth than seniors’ health,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance after watching the debate.
On Social Security, Mr. Coyle said, “Biden reminded the nation why Social Security is one of America’s greatest success stories, one that must remain strong for our children and grandchildren.” For Coyle’s complete statement, go to http://bit.ly/TGdEqR.
Alliance State Affiliate Activities: Texas, Ohio, and More!
In advance of the Vice Presidential debate, on Wednesday, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans held an accountability rally in front of Rep. Jeb Hensarling's Dallas office to emphasize his support of the Ryan budget cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as well as his repeated votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (video http://bit.ly/RmyvgS). In Ohio, Alliance members attended a “Nuns on the Bus” debate watch party in Columbus. “Nuns on the Bus” are Catholic nuns touring Ohio in an effort to look out for the state’s economically disadvantaged.
Retirees in Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere also held accountability events at the offices of their Members of Congress who voted for the Ryan budget plan. They held bake sales to raise funds for future generations' retirement, because if Romney and Ryan get their way, retirees of the future will have a much less secure retirement. In addition, the Alliance hosted a tele-town hall featuring Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) on Monday.
Sen. Baucus Works to Block Cuts to Social Security Administration Funding
In response to an inquiry from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), the Social Security Administration (SSA) warned last Friday that drastic funding cuts proposed by the House of Representatives would dramatically affect service to beneficiaries and needlessly waste taxpayer dollars. While a Senate proposal increases SSA funding levels next year, the House bill cuts $762 million from the agency’s current budget. According to SSA officials, the House Budget would cut 5,000 SSA jobs; cut Social Security field office hours; and delay more than 30,000 people with Social Security claims from getting the support they need. Compared to the Senate Budget, the House Budget would force thousands of folks with Social Security claims to wait two additional weeks to get the service they need while creating a backlog of 100,000 claims and 100,000 hearings. The House Budget would also cost taxpayers $5 to $6 billion by cutting a program that fights fraud and reduces waste.
“The House Republican budget would lead to long waits on the 800 telephone line and would derail progress that has been made in the past few years to cut into the gigantic claims backlog,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
Tea Party to Try Voter Intimidation, but Civil Rights Groups Prepared
A Tea Party group called “True the Vote” has promised to send 1 million challengers to the polls this Election Day. (See the recent story in the New York Times: http://nyti.ms/SslhLq). Their stated goal is election integrity, but their real goal is to discourage voting in certain communities by harassing voters, causing long lines and creating fear of intimidation. They say they want to make the experience of voting “like driving and seeing the police following you.”
If this happens to you, you should call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Yesterday, a coalition of civil rights, human rights and other organizations - including the Alliance and the AFL-CIO - sent letters to the chief election officials in 10 battleground states calling on them to ensure election integrity by preparing their poll workers to properly deal with those who might interfere with voters through intimidation.
Video, Fact Sheets include Alliance/AFSCME Retiree, Information You Can Share
Maryland/DC Alliance member and AFSCME retiree Walter Jones appears mid-way through this new 5 minute video from the AFL-CIO: http://youtu.be/UNGuqY5U3Xo, discussing why Social Security is important. To read the Five Ways the Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan Hurts People 55 and Older, from Families USA, go to http://bit.ly/WRLdor. For what the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan would cost you at various life stages, go to: http://bit.ly/PqhPGq.
Sen. Scott Brown Uses SOAR Retiree Steve Skvara without Permission in Attack Ad
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has been using Alliance activist and United Steelworkers Active Retiree (SOAR) member Steve Skvara - without permission - in television ads in an effort to discredit his opponent, Elizabeth Warren. Ms. Warren at one time was an attorney representing LTV Steel. Click on http://youtu.be/HbgXN9q3VVs to see the new United Steelworkers video responding to Sen. Brown. Brown's attack ad is at http://bit.ly/UNhnEy.
Alliance Leaders Travel to Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Kentucky
Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling was in Milwaukee on Monday for the Wisconsin Alliance’s Senior Power Lunch with Rep. Tammy Baldwin. Wisconsin Alliance members Elaine Capelle, Ed Garvey, and Joanne Ricca, along with State Senator Chris Larson, were honored at the event. Ms. Easterling is in Albuquerque today for a rally with Rep. Martin Heinrich. “We cannot elect candidates who see Social Security and Medicare as public goods that can be sold off for private gain,” Ms. Easterling told the New Mexico crowd.
Mr. Coyle and Rich Fiesta, Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs for the Alliance, were in Kentucky on Thursday for the Vice Presidential Debate.
For a printable copy, click here.