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August 04, 2011

Pennsylvania Retiree Leader Reacts to Debt Ceiling Deal; Warns of Upcoming Threats to Social Security and Medicare

For Immediate Release

August 2nd, 2011                                                                                    

Pennsylvania Retiree Leader Reacts to Debt Ceiling Deal; Warns of Upcoming Threats to Social Security and Medicare

The following statement was issued today by Jean Friday of Belle Vernon, PA; President of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans:

“Pennsylvania retirees are relieved – at least for now – that Social Security and Medicare were not cut in this week’s debt ceiling agreement in Washington.  But retirees cannot sit back and think that this crisis is over.  The new law creates a so-called ‘Super-Committee’ on Capitol Hill that could, by the end of the year, recommend sweeping cuts in Social Security and Medicare.  Alliance members will keep a close, wary eye on this new congressional panel.  We cannot allow those who have never liked Social Security or Medicare to use this budget climate as political cover for ideological attacks on programs that have kept generations of seniors healthy and out of poverty.

“This week’s debt agreement failed to address the root causes of our deficit, our fundamentally-flawed tax structure and the unemployment crisis.  Social Security has not added one penny to our deficit – it is fully-funded by worker and employer payroll taxes.  Our deficits were not created by Social Security checks that average just $1170 per month, nor do we have a national debt because of retirees who simply want to see a doctor or fill a prescription.  Meanwhile, intransigent members of Congress refuse to consider tax increases on the wealthy as part of the equation to reduce our deficit.  We hear a lot about “shared sacrifice” these days – both from leaders in Washington and in Harrisburg.  So far, these leaders have demanded that the middle and lower class accept reduced Social Security benefits, education cuts, higher property taxes, crumbling roads and infrastructure, diminished health care benefits, lower wages, less collective bargaining rights, higher college tuition, lower unemployment benefits and a dirtier environment to live in.  In other words, the quality of life for most Americans is under attack.  Meanwhile, tax loopholes for large corporations remain intact despite their record profits and refusal to hire more workers in America.  Also, the richest Americans continue to pay historically low income tax rates and even lower rates on their investments.  It’s time that those in Congress who serve the interests of the rich and powerful at least meet the rest of us half way to come up with a fair compromise.  Members of Congress who promised the Tea Party that they would make NO compromises do a great disservice to our country.

“My generation wants to lower the deficit.  We do not want a large debt to be the legacy we leave behind for our children and grandchildren.  But there is a right way and a wrong way to do this.  Members of the Pennsylvania Alliance will spend the coming month urging our state’s congressional delegation to not balance the budget on the backs of seniors or working people.  Next November, we will remember whether they rise to this moment in our history, or are bowled over by it.”

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