October 19, 2012

Social Security Beneficiaries to Receive 1.7% COLA in 2013

More than 56 million Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment for 2013, U.S. government officials announced on Tuesday. For the average retiree recipient, the monthly benefit will rise by $21, to $1,261. The level of taxable maximum earnings for Social Security will increase to $113,700 in 2013, from the current maximum of $110,100 in 2012. “The modest inflationary increase in Social Security benefits is good news for seniors, but it could soon be greatly overshadowed by troubling political and legislative developments,” saidEdward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are running on a platform that would badly damage Social Security for current and future retirees,” Coyle added. “They continue to perpetuate the false and corrosive myth that Social Security fuels our national debt, wanting workers and retirees to pay the price for a budget deficit they did not cause. The Romney-Ryan plan would cut benefits, raise the retirement age, and let Wall Street profit from a risky privatized system.”

“The second threat to Social Security will be a lame-duck session of Congress that will meet in November to consider cuts in federal spending,” he continued. To read Mr. Coyle’s full statement, go to http://bit.ly/RFpsEV. To see a letter, opposing the Chained CPI formula change cutting future Social Security benefits, and signed by the Alliance, go to http://bit.ly/R6Z1dQ. For an updated Chained CPI Alliance fact sheet, go to http://bit.ly/R4vsrb.

Alliance Members from Massachusetts Call in to Talk with Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, joined a call with Mass. Alliance members on Thursday. Ms. Warren promised to protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare without cutting benefits. Also calling in and speaking: Joseph Kennedy, III, who is running for Congress in the state’s 4th Congressional District, AFL-CIO State Fed. PresidentSteve Tolman, and Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling. Mr. Coyle moderated the call. Nearly 7,000 Alliance members participated!

FLARA President Fransetta Speaks on Behalf of Obama’s Medicare Plan on TV

Florida Alliance President Tony Fransetta was a panelist for the West Palm Beach CBS affiliate’s town hall event focusing on Medicare yesterday. The event highlighted the differences between plans presented by the President and the Romney/Ryan Campaign. The event, heavily promoted by the station in advance, can be replayed by going to http://bit.ly/Ob5NxX and scrolling down to Town Hall Videos on October 18. Dozens of Florida Alliance members attended the discussion.

Washington Post Writes about Effects of Raising the Retirement Age

In a Sunday Washington Post interview, Nobel laureate economist and Social Security expertPeter Diamond unloaded on those who think the simplest and fairest way to “fix” Social Security is to raise the retirement age. Seniors who retire early at age 62 would be particularly hard-hit by such an act. “What do we know about the people who retire at 62?” Diamond asked in the interview, before answering the question himself. “On average, they have a shorter life expectancy and lower earnings than people retiring at later ages.” To read the article, entitled, “There’s nothing ‘courageous’ about raising the Social Security retirement age,” go tohttp://wapo.st/WFQMY7.

 Alliance Members Protest Paul Ryan in Syracuse – and Walmart in Washington State

About 130 activists, many of them members of the New York State Alliance, marched through downtown Syracuse, New York last week, holding signs and shouting slogans opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. The activists chanted, “They say cut back, we say fight back!” The march, sponsored by the Alliance and nine other groups, including Citizen Action of New York, Disabled in Action, and several unions, began with a sendoff by Mayor Stephanie Miner outside of City Hall and wound through downtown. Eight people in wheelchairs set the pace at the front of the march.

Eric Kingson, a professor of social work at Syracuse University and co-director of the Social Security Works coalition, told the crowd that Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, (R), should apologize for supporting the Republican budget authored by congressman and vice presidential candidate Ryan. “We are here today to send a message that our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are public trusts,” Kingson said. “They are not to be tampered with by those who want to privatize, means-test, deeply cut or cut them at all.” The rally ended with a song from the “Raging Grannies,” a group from Binghamton. To the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” they sang about protecting their benefits, with the chorus, “Holy moly, it’s our money; we paid when we were young.” Video from the event is available at http://bit.ly/SXUsoC. For pictures, go tohttp://bit.ly/Ueu5Lb.

Washington State Alliance members in Renton, WA also protested recently, supporting Walmart workers by participating in a rally on their behalf. Go to http://bit.ly/TxY2QS for pictures of that event. For pictures from the Texas Alliance’s rally at Rep. Hensarling’s office last week, go tohttp://bit.ly/TBIEmE.

 Another Myth De-Bunked: FDR Never Promised Social Security Would be Voluntary

An e-mail containing misinformation about Social Security has been getting renewed attention in cyberland recently. This e-mail is about the history of Social Security, and uses lies to accuse politicians of mis-using Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s original plan for the program as a license to grow it beyond what was originally intended. In fact, FDR never said that Social Security would be voluntary, tax-deductible, or limited to $14 per year in contributions. More at:http://bit.ly/XuIzFq. “The Alliance strives to separate fact from fiction,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “And lies about Social Security are likely to be used by those who want to cut benefits.”

New South Carolina Alliance President

On Monday, South Carolina Alliance members at their state convention elected Donna DeWitt as their new president. “Welcome to Donna. We are very grateful to our outgoing President Julie Harbin for her years of hard work and significant contributions!” said Ms. Easterling.

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