"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
Stand up to the American Legislative Exchange Council and Protect Pensions
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a corporate-funded, “pay-to-play” lobbying group that brings corporations and state legislators together to craft “model” legislation. The “model bills” they craft, regrettably, put corporate profits before the public interest. Stand up to ALEC – the coalition group that includes the Alliance for Retired Americans, the AFL-CIO, and other unions and allies, will focus on pensions during the week of March 17. ALEC’s goal is to wipe out public pension systems in favor of private 401(k) type plans. In a Wall Street-managed, individual 401(k) world, workers would lose their ability to save, invest and take action collectively. For a fact sheet on ALEC and retirement security, go to http://tinyurl.com/l6ruewq.
“ALEC and its sister organization, the State Policy Network, are planning campaigns, lobbying activities, and lawsuits to challenge and degrade state and local public pension systems in numerous states,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania are targets at the least, and we cannot afford to stay out of this battle. We will reach out to expose these anti-democratic efforts step-by-step.”
Alliance Letter: House “Doc Fix” is the Wrong Solution
The Alliance sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday regarding the “doc fix,” or “Sustainable Growth Rate” (SGR). The SGR is supposed to chop provider reimbursement if spending rises too fast, but such steep cuts in practice would harm patient care, and more doctors would refuse to treat seniors. The letter from Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta opposed the passage of H.R. 4015, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act, as the solution. The letter suggested other ways to solve the problem, including the Medicare Drug Discount Act (http://tinyurl.com/p5px7p5). However, the bill passed on Friday, 238-181. For a tally of the vote, go to http://tinyurl.com/mgnvxze.
“While the February 2014 agreement reached by the House and Senate to fix the sustainable growth rate formula in Medicare’s physician reimbursement was bicameral and bipartisan, this legislation is not,” Mr. Fiesta wrote. “Under this egregious proposal, doctors would be paid on the backs of uninsured Americans. This is simply unacceptable….(i)t is disturbing to us that the authors of this proposal found money to provide an update for physicians, who on average make upwards of $200,000 per year, but not for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.” To read the full letter, go to http://tinyurl.com/qj7zve9.
USA Today Piece Describes Retirees’ Biggest Financial Regrets
Financial advisers, asked about their retired clients’ biggest money regrets, offered several recommendations in USA Today this week. Among the regrets listed: retiring too early, not planning for worst-case scenarios, and underestimating future medical costs. Some also regret withdrawing early from an IRA or 401(k) and not moving to a new city or state to reduce taxes.
“I’m sure many people would love to have saved more for their retirement, but the money was just never there,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
Tash Elwyn, president of the Raymond James & Associates firm, says a key mistake people make is that they fail to make provisions for catastrophic events. “Whether it's a major medical issue or a debilitating illness, those that find they are not only financing their own retirement, but an adult child who has returned after a job loss aren't accounting for real life. Planning can't just be for best-case scenarios, and far too often it is.” More at http://tinyurl.com/q44lwqb.
Spanish Friday Alert now Available
The Friday Alert will now be available each week in Spanish! To see last week’s Alerta Semanal, go to http://tinyurl.com/mq7gpry. For the Alliance’s Spanish language page, which includes fact sheets and other translated documents from the main site, go to http://tinyurl.com/nllcz6n. More outreach from the Alliance to the Hispanic elder community will be coming in the next few months.
Oregon Alliance Holds State Convention, Hosts Former Governor Roberts
On March 8, the Oregon Alliance for Retired Americans held its annual convention, and it included the most attendees in years. Featured speaker Barbara Roberts, Oregon's first woman governor, shared her life story. In observance of International Women's Day, she encouraged women to record their successes. Progressive talk show host Carl Wolfson spoke about fighting income inequality. Resolutions were passed opposing ALEC legislative activities and supporting Postal Service banking. Board member Jim Davis reported success at the just-ended Oregon legislative session in securing funding for the placement of senior and disability mental health and addiction specialists in all 36 county mental health programs. Ron Rogers and Jane Netboy were elected as trustees.
Alliance’s National Convention is April 28 – May 1, 2014 at Bally's Hotel Las Vegas
Join us in Las Vegas as we sharpen our organizing and communications skills for the 2014 elections and beyond! Confirmed speakers now include: Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME; Danny Thompson, Nevada AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer and Nevada Alliance Vice President; Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Liz Shuler, Alliance Executive Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO; Linda Chavez-Thompson, former Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO; J. David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees; and several others.
Alliance members will elect a president and secretary-treasurer, and community members will elect six community-based board members and the executive vice-president for community affairs. Hotel reservations must be made by March 21, 2014. Click on http://tinyurl.com/luw8vke to visit the Alliance’s convention web page. Go to http://tinyurl.com/prl8box to register on-line. Questions? Contact Joni Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-637-5377.
Any delegate registered to attend the National Membership Convention may offer or second a resolution for consideration. The resolution must pertain to a statement of the Alliance’s position or policy on a specific matter. Resolutions, and seconds, must be received by the Alliance no later than April 8, 2014. The Resolutions Committee, designated by the Alliance President, will review proposed resolutions. Send resolutions to Resolutions2014@retiredamericans.org.