April 04, 2014
Paul Ryan’s April Fools’ Day Budget Would Cut Medicare Dramatically
On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released another Republican budget proposal – this one for the 2015 fiscal year – that would slash programs that benefit seniors in order to cut taxes for corporations and high income earners. Aiming to eliminate the federal deficit within the next 10 years, Ryan’s proposal would again end the Medicare guarantee by privatizing Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system. Since vouchers would likely not pay for the full cost of coverage, millions of seniors would be forced to pay more out of pocket. In addition, Rep. Ryan’s budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act, forcing seniors to pay more for preventive health services and prescription drugs. Ryan’s budget also slashes critical parts of the federal safety net important to working families and includes cuts to Medicaid and food stamps.
Richard Fiesta, Executive Director for the Alliance pointed out, “This year, Chairman Ryan did add something new, but it is erroneous. He is saying that the Social Security Trust Fund is not a real savings account – questioning the value of U.S. bonds. In 1936, Alf Landon made the same charge when he was the presidential nominee, and the sentiment is as wrong now as it was then.”
While Ryan’s proposal calls for painful cuts to domestic programs, it includes tax cuts for corporations and high income earners. The Ryan budget would reduce the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25%. Ryan’s budget is expected to be met with intense opposition from Democratic lawmakers opposed to the changes and from hardline Republicans looking to make even deeper cuts. Although it is unclear whether Ryan’s proposal will ever come to a vote, it is widely seen as a statement of principles emphasizing Republican budget priorities heading into the upcoming election season. See the Alliance’s reaction to the proposal athttp://tinyurl.com/khutm24.
Alliance co-hosts Conference Call, Members Rally to Increase the Minimum Wage
On Wednesday, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, joined the Alliance and Social Security Works for a tele-press conference discussing new research that shows restoring the minimum wage to its 1968 level would enhance Social Security protections for low-income workers and shore up the program’s finances. Midge Slater, Organizer for the Iowa Alliance, joined the call, noting that since Social Security benefits are tied to earnings, women would particularly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage. That is because their lifetime earnings are frequently affected by lower wages and family care time spent out of the work force. You can hear the content of the call on YouTube by going tohttp://tinyurl.com/jwrm7rm. For a summary of the research, go to http://tinyurl.com/pg9pa25.
“Raising the minimum wage will reduce income inequality and help ensure the stability of the program in the future,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.
On Thursday, the “Give America a Raise” bus tour rolled into the nation’s capital, drawing attention to the fact that too many American workers struggle to survive on $15,000 a year. Several Alliance members joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, U.S. Sens. Tom Harkin (IA) and Al Franken (MN), U.S. Rep. George Miller (CA), AFSCME President Lee Saunders, Alliance Executive Vice President/AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, and others in saying that the minimum wage must be raised to $10.10 per hour. Video from the event is athttp://tinyurl.com/k2hdwtb.
“The better your working life is, the better your retirement will be,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
Affordable Senior Health Insurance to Supplement Medicare – Annual Open Enrollment Period Extended Until April 30, 2014!
Are you a union retiree or spouse? Did you know you are eligible for affordable supplemental insurance to Medicare exclusively endorsed by the Alliance? The Union Retiree Health Plan offers several options to fit your budget and is proud to announce the program’s most competitive rates ever! Due to an overwhelming response, this year’s Open Enrollment Period has been extended until April 30, 2014. During this period, Medicare-eligible union retirees and spouses are guaranteed acceptance without waiting periods, regardless of preexisting health conditions. If you are not one of the thousands of your fellow members currently benefiting from the Union Retiree Health Plan, now is the best time to enroll! Already enrolled? Tell your friends! Enrollment is easy. For more information, please call 1-855-733-0557 today!
Florida Alliance Members Meet to Address the State’s Severe Economic Problems
The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans held its Legislative Conference and Quarterly Executive Board Meeting on Monday and Tuesday in Tallahassee. Eva Dominguez, Legislative Representative, represented the National Alliance. A press conference inside the state capitol focused on housing and grandparents’ rights. Attendees also addressed several other issues over the two days, including many economic factors that severely limit Florida’s desirability for people who are looking to relocate (http://bit.ly/1laM8wT).
Fiesta Speaks to Teachers in New York
Mr. Fiesta is in New York City today to address New York State United Teachers conference. The event is designed to give Local and Retiree Council Presidents the tools they need to strengthen their locals, build solidarity and mobilize for the future.
Alliance’s National Convention is April 28 – May 1, 2014 at Bally’s Hotel Las Vegas
It is not too late to register for the Alliance for Retired Americans 2014 National Membership Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 28 through May 1. Workshops are slated to include State Battles: Fighting Back Against ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council);Seniors/Retirees Re-entering the Workforce; Messaging for the 2014 Midterm Elections and Beyond; and several others! More info is at http://bit.ly/1hYpj0g. Delegates registered to attend may offer or second a resolution for consideration. It must pertain to a statement of the Alliance’s position or policy on a specific matter and be sent to Resolutions2014@retiredamericans.org. Resolutions and seconds must be received by the Alliance by April 8, 2014.