August 13, 2010
Alliance Celebrates the 75th Birthday of Social Security
Tomorrow, August 14, is the 75th Anniversary of the day that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security program into law, and the Alliance is putting together over 100 birthday parties and other events to highlight both the occasion and the importance of the program. For a list of all the activities, go to http://bit.ly/aTIDaP. Event highlights include those inTucson, Arizona, where FDR’s granddaughter is the special speaker at a lunch, and Rock Hill,South Carolina, where Alliance members will present Rep. John Spratt (D) with a special plaque to thank him for his service, along with a giant card signed by constituents asking him to continue protecting and preserving Social Security. Rep. Spratt will then cut a birthday cake and announce the winner of the raffle for whacking rights to a large “Fat Cat” piñata. Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling will call into the Social Security-Medicare party in Omaha, Nebraska to address those in attendance. “Retirees have much to be proud of as Social Security turns 75. It is a true American success story, one that has kept generations of seniors out of poverty, and allowed millions to retire with dignity and peace of mind. But this milestone anniversary is tainted by calls, in the name of deficit reduction, to cut Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age,” saidEdward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.
Mr. Coyle was referring in part to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who offered another signal last Sunday that his party would favor raising the Social Security retirement age. Asked specifically on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if he supports raising the retirement age to, say, 70, Boehner replied, “There are a lot of options on how you solve these (issues), but I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.” Later during the program, Boehner’s deputy, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), said of raising the retirement age, “…for younger Americans, absolutely yes, we ought to bring real reform for the sake of future generations of Americans to get spending under control.” For related information, including a link to state reports from the group Strengthen Social Security, with detailed information down to the congressional district level on the impact of Social Security, go to www.strengthensocialsecurity.org/reports.
Raising the Retirement Age, with People Filing for Early Social Security Benefits?
A striking trend is occurring: more people are filing early for their Social Security benefits in response to the weak economy. The Washington Post (http://bit.ly/aHvTsz) reported this week that more people filed for Social Security in 2009 (2.74 million) than in any year before. It’s not just because of the baby boomers – there is a significant increase in individuals receiving reduced benefits because they filed in advance of their full retirement age. Noting the trend and referring to the Republican efforts to raise the retirement age, Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burkssaid, “Can you imagine working until 70? In physically demanding jobs like construction, manufacturing, and the service sector, I just don’t see how you can. And in a tough job market, who would hire someone in their late 60s? Raising the retirement age is a benefit cut – plain and simple. We cannot allow it to be done.”
Anti-Social Security Candidate Wins Colorado Senate Primary
On Tuesday, Colorado Republicans nominated Weld County district attorney Ken Buck to take on U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, who won the day’s Democratic primary, in November. According to Politico, earlier this year Buck called Social Security “horrible, bad policy” and questioned whether the federal government should administer it. On the day after the primary vote, the Alliance placed recorded phone calls to its Colorado members to educate them on Buck’s comments, as well as his support for raising the Social Security retirement age.
Alliance Rejects Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare Voucher Plan
A Medicare op-ed in The Washington Post today by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), available athttp://bit.ly/8ZSY43, has generated attention in the nation’s Capital. In response, Ms. Easterling said, “Turning Medicare into a voucher program that all seniors can no longer count on is not a solution to the nation’s fiscal problems. Rep. Ryan’s plan would send us backward, into days when seniors would have shorter life spans and uncertain health care in their golden years. I urge Alliance members who are asked about this plan to remind their friends and neighbors that Medicare is a success because it is a program that helps millions, not a select few.”
Alliance Speakers Fan Out Across the Country
Mr. Coyle joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in Las Vegas and Reno for Social Security birthday event rallies, complete with cake and balloons, on Thursday this week. Nevada Alliance President Scott Watts was the emcee at the events. The rallies made clear that Sen. Reid has spent his career protecting Social Security, while his Senate opponent, Sharron Angle, has made clear her intention to kill the program. Ms. Easterling is addressing the Virginia AFL-CIO in Williamsburg today. Also this week, the Alliance’s Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs, Richard Fiesta, spoke to attendees of the Alliance convention in Washington State in Seattle on Monday.
Colorado Leader Mike Kindig Mourned
The Colorado labor movement suffered a significant loss this week with the passing of Mike Kindig, the long-time editor of the Colorado Labor Advocate who served on the board of theAlliance. Kindig, who passed away on Monday from pancreatic cancer, was initiated into the labor movement as an actor 33 years ago. Mike was a proud member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Private services will be held for family members, and a public memorial will be held at a later date. A veteran, Mike met his wife Patricia as a result of their coinciding search for their MIA parents. His family plans to bury his ashes at Arlington Cemeterywith his father. Donations in his memory can be made to “Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors” at www.taps.org (1.800.959.8277), an organization providing 24/7 assistance for families, widows and orphans of war casualties. For more, click here: http://bit.ly/9vYKGg.