"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
Wisconsin Governor Recall Effort Advances; Retirees Help Get a Million Signatures
January 20, 2012
A million signatures were turned in on Tuesday to begin the formal process of forcing a recall election for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R). The petitions delivered to the Government Accountability Board arrived on a truck and weighed over 3000 pounds. The signatures collected and submitted exceeded the number required to force a recall by 460,000. In addition to the Governor, Wisconsinites also turned in the required signatures to recall the Lieutenant Governor and three state Senators.
Seniors in Wisconsin, including WI Alliance members, were active in circulating hundreds of petitions to recall the Governor and the Lt. Governor. In addition to circulating petitions, Wisconsin retirees from all walks of life volunteered time for data entry and validating the signed petitions. Wisconsin Alliance leaders spoke to many retiree clubs to organize their membership around the recall efforts. Wisconsin Alliance members also organized and participated in many recall events around the state, including this one at the Milwaukee Airport featured in Sunday’s New York Times: http://nyti.ms/xt3WR8.
“The number of signatures and the amount of support for the recall that culminated by the time of delivery far exceeded many Wisconsinites’ expectations,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
Republican Field for President Narrows
With Texas Governor Rick Perry dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination for President on Thursday, the race is now down to four candidates. During the South Carolina GOP debate earlier in the week, on Monday night, former Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) called former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich (GA) “irresponsible” in referencing his plan for privatizing Social Security. According to The Hill newspaper, Gingrich is receiving a congressional pension of more than $100,000 per year from his two-decade career in Congress.
To see former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at the debate, speaking about ending Medicare as we know it in favor of vouchers, go to http://bit.ly/xz5OA9. Romney also attacked the Affordable Care Act, which provides free preventive care for seniors, calling it “the Fourth Entitlement.” Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is the fourth remaining candidate.
Americans are Raiding Savings to Make Ends Meet, Putting Retirement at Risk
Four years after the initial recession, according to the Huffington Post and Reuters, increased withdrawals from college and retirement funds and boosts in credit card usage are leading policy makers to think more Americans are using these accounts for more day-to-day living. Loans taken from retirement savings accounts leapt anywhere from 20-60%, and 27% of workers are “not at all confident” that they will have enough funds for a comfortable retirement. To see the full article, go to http://huff.to/wH6cBs.
Barbara Easterling Speaks Out About Effect on Seniors of Voter ID Requirements
Also in the Huffington Post, a column by Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling was published on Thursday. In her column, “Don't Take the Vote Away From Seniors,” Ms. Easterling draws attention to the many problems that new Voter Identification laws pose for retirees. To read it, go to http://huff.to/x52997.
Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans Holds its Convention
The Hawaii Alliance’s (HARA’s) 4th Biennial Convention was held in Honolulu on Saturday, with about seventy delegates and guests attending. Three members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation addressed the convention--U.S. Senator Dan Akaka (D), whom HARA presented with their Shining Light Award for his 35 years of distinguished service in Congress; Rep. Mazie Hirono (D); and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D). Conference attendees also heard from Richard Fiesta, Director of the national Alliance’s Department of Government and Political Affairs, and several other well-received speakers. The delegates elected Justin Wong as the new HARA President. The new Vice President is Elmer Yuen; Jackie Foil was reelected Secretary; and Phyllis Hiramatsu was reelected Treasurer. For links to the Hawaii Convention photos, go to http://bit.ly/xe7PiT (set) and http://bit.ly/AjXoHt (slideshow). To see additional Hawaii Alliance photos from the past, go to http://bit.ly/ykpmMk.
“In addition to welcoming Justin Wong, I would like to say a special 'thank-you' to Al Hamai, outgoing President of the Hawaii Alliance,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the national Alliance. “All of us at the Alliance want to express our deepest gratitude for all of his work. Al has long embodied what it means to be a good citizen in the retiree movement. Whatever has been asked of him – writing a letter to the editor, making a lobby visit, or traveling great distances to an Alliance meeting – Al has always stepped up to help current and future retirees.”
National Academy of Social Insurance Elects New Members
Both Mr. Fiesta and the Alliance’s Sarah Byrne, Senior Legislative Representative, were elected to the National Academy of Social Insurance. Read more, and see who else was elected as new members, at http://bit.ly/s9yMps.
Washington State Retirees Speak up for Access to Social Security Offices
The Social Security Administration (SSA) plans to close neighborhood offices in Seattle this spring, replacing them with an office in the high-security Jackson Federal Building. Rather than the offices seniors and the disabled go to now, Seattle-area residents will be required to navigate often-intimidating Homeland Security checkpoints in the downtown federal building — and possibly be searched – in order to check in with federal workers about their benefits. Last Friday, the Washington State Alliance and the Puget Sound Alliance co-hosted a public meeting with other groups, including the American Federation of Government Employees, to share stories, hear from public officials, and see how to be involved. For a video about saving access to Seattle's SSA offices, go to http://bit.ly/ynWKrc.
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