"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
Coyle: Let Us Make Sure this 3.6% Raise is not the Last Social Security COLA Ever
October 21, 2011
Social Security recipients will get a 3.6% increase in benefits next year, their first raise since 2009, federal government officials announced on Wednesday. Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle responded to the news in a press release. “Seniors are pleased by today’s announcement of a 3.6 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security beneficiaries. After two years of no increase, this will help retirees be better able to pay their bills and stay healthy. But today’s news is tempered by reports that the congressional ‘Super Committee’ is considering changes to Social Security that will severely hinder retirees’ ability to keep pace with the rising cost of living.” Coyle continued, “Today’s COLA is good news for retirees, but I worry that it could be the last one many seniors ever see. Workers and retirees must mobilize to protect the Social Security benefits millions of seniors count on to make ends meet.” Go to http://bit.ly/nMe5XW to read his full statement. The inflation that justifies the benefit increase also will raise the amount of income subject to the portion of the payroll tax supporting Social Security. Currently, workers pay taxes on the first $106,800 of income. Starting next year, they will pay it on the first $110,100. Later on Wednesday afternoon, Coyle discussed the COLA on CNN.
An important new analysis from the Social Security Chief Actuary shows that if the Super Committee proposes to cut the Social Security COLA as part of its deficit reduction strategy, it will overwhelmingly affect current beneficiaries. Many politicians from both political parties who have proposed cutting Social Security have promised that current beneficiaries would NOT be affected. However, cutting the Social Security COLA would be a broken promise to those depending on Social Security today. To see the report, go to http://bit.ly/oiS5CC.
Ohio Alliance Takes Action to Repeal SB-5 and Save Collective Bargaining Rights
Ohio Alliance President Dave Friesner and Treasurer Sally Steagall have developed a crew of coordinators and volunteers from local leadership in the effort to repeal SB-5, a state bill that would strip public workers of most of their collective bargaining rights. Mr. Friesner and Ms. Steagall are helping to manage a team of “zone coordinators” throughout the state. Their team has already completed more than 150 presentations to thousands of seniors on the importance of voting No on “Issue 2,” as SB-5 appears on the November 8 ballot. The team has also helped seniors connect with early voting efforts, recruited retiree volunteers for phone banks, and put thousands of pieces of literature into the hands of seniors. Today, Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance, and Mr. Coyle are speaking on a tele-town hall call for Ohio retirees. With only 18 days until the special election, volunteers are preparing to Get Out The Vote. Please contact Alliance Organizer Norm Wernet at 614-224-8271, x1004 or email email@example.com to get involved.
Long Term Care “CLASS Act” Screeches to a Halt
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials released a statement last Friday stating that work on the long term care “CLASS Act” is to be suspended. The CLASS Act was a last-minute provision added to health care reform. CLASS, or Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, would provide long term care for beneficiaries by drawing revenue from a voluntary payroll tax. Without a large enough base of healthy participants for the program, HHS would have to increase premiums, driving people away. The Obama Administration is not happy about this suspension. President Obama stands firmly against any action to repeal CLASS. If CLASS gets repealed, it will be more ammunition for the Republicans to push total repeal of health care reform. “The issue of long term care is not going away. We must deal with long term care as a nation,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
Alliance out West: Washington State and Nevada Go Inter-Generational
By taking part in an effort called “Just Scrap the Cap,” Washington Alliance members have found a way to reach out to a different generation. Working with Social Security Works Washington and The Economic Opportunity Institute, they are circulating a clever rap video with lyrics suggesting a situation in which a mother and father have to move in with their adult son after endless cuts to their Social Security benefits. It is available at http://bit.ly/qDYWKC. “The video is a creative, inter-generational way to educate the public. Please share it with your children and grandchildren,” said Ms. Easterling.
On Saturday, Nevada Alliance members were among 1,000 demonstrators who took part in the “Occupy Las Vegas” movement, an off-shoot of Occupy Wall Street. During this Las Vegas rally, approximately 30 NARA members participated for hours on end to demand jobs and better health care. View the video at http://bit.ly/nM4OmD.
Alliance in the East: Georgia and Pennsylvania Work with Their State Legislators
Members of the Alliance in the East are also doing their part to ensure that programs beneficial to seniors are recognized and that seniors’ rights are not challenged unfairly. After a tremendous effort from the Georgia Alliance, the Georgia Legislature and Senate recently passed a resolution commemorating Social Security. With a number of Republicans voting in the affirmative, the state bodies commended Social Security for its outstanding contributions to the citizens of Georgia on the 76th anniversary of the program. “The resolution noted that Social Security works for Georgia’s retired workers by providing benefits to over 824,600 residents,” stated Kenny Bradford, President of the Georgia Alliance.
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Alliance and two dozen other groups rallied, protested, and urged the Pennsylvania Senate to defeat House Bill 934, which would adversely affect retirees by requiring voters to produce photo identification every time they vote. Pennsylvania Alliance members also hosted a policy discussion on Social Security, Medicare, and retirement security for America’s middle and working class seniors on Monday in Philadelphia, and on Tuesday in York.
Barbara Easterling: from Long Beach to Long Island
Ms. Easterling was in Long Beach, California this week, speaking at the California Alliance Convention, where she urged seniors to be proactive when it comes to government cuts that could affect Social Security and Medicare. Yesterday, she was on Long Island in New York, giving a speech at the Coalition of Retired Teachers of Long Island luncheon.
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