"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, 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
Protection Available for Those Who Experience Problems While Voting
October 22, 2010
Ten years have passed since the “hanging chad” problem in Florida, and since then a majority of states across the nation have overhauled their voting methods in hopes of simplifying the process and making it more accurate. One of the most pronounced changes has been the move away from lever and paper voting in favor of optical and electric voting methods. However, limited funds for voting equipment and rapidly aging voting machines in some areas are an indication that the country is not immune from problems re-emerging. In addition, voter suppression occurred recently when a front group called “Latinos for Reform,” run by a major donor to former President George W. Bush, was caught running television ads in Nevada telling Hispanic voters NOT to vote on November 2nd as a way of protesting. The ads are now off the air.
The following resources focus on election protection. They are produced by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, who have set up a national hotline for any voting problems: 1-866-Our-Vote. For information on fundamental voting rights and commonly asked questions, go to http://www.866ourvote.org/elections-101. For pages with state-specific laws and pdf's with more detailed information on your state's election laws, click on http://www.866ourvote.org/state. In addition, for information on the voting rights of the disabled from the National Disability Rights Network, go to http://bit.ly/bokzr8. “Voters can go the polls with peace of mind, knowing that the system has improved,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “However, if you do experience a problem, help is available. Don’t go home without casting your ballot.”
George W. Bush Regrets not being Able to “Reform” Social Security
On Thursday, George W. Bush said that his greatest failure in office was not passing Social Security reform. Bush made the remarks while speaking in Chicago at a conference for a finance trade association. He had sought to push through legislation after he won re-election in 2004 that would have privatized Social Security. “The former President’s comments unfortunately prove once again that Republicans would privatize Social Security if given another chance to do so,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.
SSA Report Reveals True Cost of Rep. Paul Ryan’s Plan for Social Security Reform
Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to rein in the cost of Social Security would dramatically reduce retirement benefits for middle- and upper-income Americans, especially those now younger than 25, according to an analysis released on Wednesday by Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Washington Post wrote that Rep. Ryan’s plan - available at http://wapo.st/9gjpua - would reduce benefits by raising the retirement age above 67 and trimming benefits for the top 70% of earners. Together, the two provisions would slice initial benefits by about a quarter for middle-income Americans who turn 65 in 2050, according to the analysis. A worker born in 1985 whose earnings averaged $43,000 would receive 17% less at retirement than current law promises, as a result of Rep. Ryan’s proposal to change the inflation index. His proposed increase in the retirement age would reduce benefits by another 8%. SSA's report shows that overall, the changes would reduce benefits by between 10 and 50%.
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), the chair of the Social Security subcommittee on House Ways and Means, had urged SSA to analyze Ryan's recommended changes. Pomeroy called out House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for supporting the changes. Boehner has said that he would support raising the retirement age to 70.
The report also examines other ideas for overhauling the program, including several under discussion by the deficit-reduction Fiscal Commission appointed by President Obama. Go to http://bit.ly/b9YAyS for an Alliance summary of the last meeting held by the Commission.
Economic Policy Institute Argues for $250 Payment to Retirees
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Monday said that they would work to introduce a bill granting a one-time $250 supplemental payment to Social Security recipients, who will receive no cost of living increase in 2011 for the second year in a row. Speaker Pelosi promised a vote on the bill during the lame duck session after the elections. The bill, H.R. 5987, was introduced by Rep. Pomeroy and has 127 co-sponsors. It would help provide additional income to millions of seniors who live on fixed incomes and often face rising Medicare costs. The $250 would provide assistance for seniors struggling to pay for basic necessities, and would also serve as a valuable economic stimulus. Research by the Economic Policy Institute (http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/bp269) has shown that one of the most effective components of the 2009 Recovery Act was the $250 lump-sum payments that went to recipients of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Because these payments were quickly spent, they stimulated local economies and likely boosted GDP by roughly 0.5% in the second quarter of 2009. That translates to about 125,000 jobs created or saved due to these payments. “If Congress votes to give seniors checks for $250, the whole economy will benefit,” said Mr. Coyle, who was in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday for a meeting with Alliance members to discuss Medicare and Social Security.
Pennsylvania Convention Includes Election of Officers
The Pennsylvania Alliance convention took place last week in Grantville, PA. It included several presentations by Alliance staff and the election of the following officers: Jean Friday of Belle Vernon, PA, President; Bill George of Mechanicsburg, Executive Vice President; Wayne Burton of West Chester, Secretary; and Mike Doyle of Upper Black Eddy, Treasurer.
Intergenerational Event at the University of Colorado - Boulder
Members of the Alliance are in Boulder, Colorado today for an intergenerational rally at the University of Colorado at Boulder with students about the importance of Social Security for future generations. “The Alliance is calling attention to myths and lies surrounding Social Security, and pointing out what’s at stake for Social Security in the November elections,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
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