Collected Coalition Member Press Releases Opposed to Social Security Cuts in Deficit-Reduction Legislation


Table of Contents


Strengthen Social Security Campaign
AFL-CIO
AFSCME
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Association of University Women
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for Community Change
Democracy for America
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Latinos for a Secure Retirement
League of Rural Voters
MoveOn.Org Political Action
National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare
National Council of Women's Organizations
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
National Nurses United
National Senior Citizens Law Center
OWL - The Voice for Midlife and Older Women
SEIU
United Steel Workers
USAction
Wider Opportunities for Women

 

Strengthen Social Security Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 7, 2011
 
Reports of Obama Plan to Cut Social Security, if True, Represent a Betrayal to America’s Seniors and Families, Charges Leader of Coalition Representing 300 Organizations
 
(Washington, D.C.) Various news outlets are reporting that President Obama plans to propose cuts to Social Security benefits during deficit-reduction negotiations with congressional leaders today. The following is a statement from Eric Kingson, Co-Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, about those reports:
 
“If true, President Obama’s proposal to cut Social Security benefits represents a betrayal of America’s seniors, people with disabilities and their families.  The President and his top officials have stated that Social Security is not the cause of the federal deficit. That is true, and that is why cuts to Social Security benefits should not be part of any deficit-reduction deal.  
 
“The President has said that cuts to Social Security benefits should not put current retirees at risk and that he will not slash benefits for tomorrow’s beneficiaries.  These promises are being broken if, as has been reported, the President is considering Social Security COLA cuts. This would be done by changing the formula used to calculate the annual COLA to the so-called chained CPI. This technical change is just a sneaky way to cut the benefits people have earned – whether they receive Social Security now or in the future. After ten years average retiree benefits will be cut by about $600 a year, and after 20 years they will be cut by about $1,000 a year.  [See analysis here]
 
“There’s no way to sugar coat a sneak attack on everyone’s COLA. Money would be ripped out of the pockets of millions of vulnerable Americans. Women, low-income and very old retirees would be hit hardest. Social Security benefits are modest, averaging just $13,000 a year, and today’s COLA does not adequately take into account the disproportionate impact of rising health care costs on seniors and people with disabilities. Social Security’s COLA should be increased, not cut.”
  
More information about Social Security COLA cuts is available here. Below are recent statements from President Obama and his Director of the Office of Management and Budget:44
 
President Obama, Deficit Speech at George Washington University, April 13, 2011
“While Social Security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that is growing older. As I said in the State of the Union, both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”
 
Jacob Lew, OMB Director, “Opposing view: Social Security isn't the problem,” USA Today, February 22, 2011
“Specifically, looking to the next two decades, Social Security does not cause our deficits.
Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing. They are paid for with payroll taxes collected from workers and their employers throughout their careers. These taxes are placed in a trust fund dedicated to paying benefits owed to current and future beneficiaries … The problem is not Social Security; the problem is the mismatch between outlays and revenues in the rest of the budget. Closing that gap and paying down our debt will take tough choices, and the president's budget makes them. Strengthening Social Security is an important, but parallel, issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. But let's not confuse it as either the cause of or a solution to our short-term fiscal problems.”  
 
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The Strengthen Social Security Campaign is comprised of more than 300 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans from many of the nation’s leading aging, labor, disability, women’s, children, consumer, civil rights and equality organizations.

 
 

AFL-CIO

For Immediate Release                                                     
Contact: Amaya Tune: 202-637-5018
 
Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Social Security
July 7, 2011
At a time when retirement security remains an elusive goal for most Americans, cuts to Social Security benefits – in whatever form they take – should not be on the table.    Furthermore, Social Security, our nation’s most  effective anti-poverty program, has not contributed one dime to the deficit and should not be part of any deficit-related trade-offs.  The AFL-CIO continues to oppose any cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits, including any cuts in cost of living adjustments. The best solution to our deficit problem is to create good jobs that will rebuild our economy.  That should be our first priority.
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AFSCME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     
Thursday, July 07, 2011
 
Contact:  Chris Policano, 202-429-1145

AFSCME’s McEntee: “A Healthy Economy is the Best Deficit Reduction Strategy”

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Pres. Gerald W. McEntee released the following statement today:
 
“According to press reports, cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are under discussion as part of the debt ceiling negotiations.  The middle class and the poor did not create our fiscal situation, and they should not bear the brunt of resolving it.  Earlier decisions to enact unaffordable tax cuts should not result in cuts in Social Security payments for seniors and the disabled.  Two lengthy and expensive wars should not force billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, shifting costs to states and ultimately children, vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities.  Bailouts for banks should not force cuts to Medicare.

“The central focus of negotiators must be the need to create jobs and improve the economy.  A healthy economy is the best deficit reduction strategy.”

# # #

 
AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, childcare providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

 

Alliance for Retired Americans


For Immediate Release                                                                                                            
July 7, 2011                                                                                                                                       
 
Retiree Leader Reacts to Possible Social Security Cuts
 
Would be Devastating for Millions of Seniors, Coyle Says
  
The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans:
 
“Retirees are deeply concerned by media accounts that the White House is considering cuts in Social Security as part of the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations with Congress.  The Alliance for Retired Americans would strongly oppose such a move.
 
“More specifically, we are troubled by an idea being floated in Washington to change a federal statistical formula to lower Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security.  As the administration and Republican leaders have previously said, Social Security does not contribute to the budget deficit.  It would be terribly hurtful – as well as contradictory to prior White House statements – to try to balance the budget on the backs of current and future retirees.  Lowering the COLA would be devastating for millions of retirees.  According to the program’s Chief Actuary, a 75-year-old retiree’s benefits would be cut by $560 per year, while an 85-year-old would have an annual cut of $984.
 
“Today’s seniors want to lower the budget deficit.  They do not want a large debt to be the legacy they leave behind to their children and grandchildren.  But the fact is that Social Security has not added one penny to our deficit and has no place in any debt ceiling negotiations.
 
“We are deeply grateful for the clear, unequivocal stances of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.  They recognize that Social Security is one of America’s greatest success stories and must remain strong for generations to come.”
 
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The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well being of over 4 million retirees and their families.

 



American Association of University Women

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/7/2011
 
AAUW’s Top Policy Adviser Issues Statement on Possible Social Security Cuts
WASHINGTON— Lisa Maatz, the top policy adviser for the American Association of University Women (AAUW), released the following statement about media reports that the White House, along with congressional leaders from both parties, might consider proposing cuts to Social Security benefits today: 
Social Security must not be a bargaining chip during deficit-reduction negotiations. Social Security did not cause the federal deficit—in fact, the program is “off budget”—and it should not be looted to address America’s financial problems, especially at the expense of working families who depend on its programs the most. AAUW has long believed in the idea of shared sacrifice and budgets that balance individual rights with responsibilities to the greater community.
Cuts to this vital program would be all pain, no gain for countless Americans, especially for older women, more than half of whom would fall into poverty without Social Security benefits. While these are tough economic times, there is a right way and a wrong way to balance the budget. In the end, it comes down to priorities. The budget must not be balanced on the backs of those who can least afford it. AAUW urges policy makers to stand strong and keep Social Security cuts off the negotiating table.
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AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institutional partners. Since AAUW’s founding 130 years ago, members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day—educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s commitment to educational equity is reflected in our public policy advocacy, community programs, leadership development, conventions and conferences, national partnerships, and international connections. Take a virtual tour of the AAUW Experience and visit the AAUW website!

 

Campaign for America’s Future

 
Social Security Should Be Off the Table: Social Security Should Not Be Part of Deficit Reduction Talks
July 7, 2011                                        
Contact: Liz Rose (202) 587-1638
 
Washington, DC – Reacting to news reports that President Obama has put Social Security cuts on the table in deficit reduction negotiations, Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future issued the following statement:
 
“Social Security should not be on the table for deficit reduction.  Social Security has its own dedicated source of revenue and it contributes not a dime to the deficit.  It is the most successful program in the history of government, protecting people who have worked their whole lives and deserve to retire in dignity.
 
"As the results of the NY-26 special election showed, voters do not want politicians cutting Medicare and Medicaid in order to preserve tax breaks for billionaires.  Any politician of either party that messes with Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid will feel the wrath of voters in the next election. We sent 50,000 signatures to the budget negotiators demanding that they not touch Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Americans do not want the bedrock programs that support their parents to be part of a deficit reduction package.
 
“If deficit reduction is the goal of the talks, the best way to reduce the deficit is to put the millions of Americans who are out of work back to work.”
 
The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities – for good jobs and a sustainable economy, and for strengthening the safety net.
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Center for Community Change

 
For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 7, 2011
 
Retirement Security: Washington Focusing on Wrong Problem and Wrong Solution
 
Progressive Leader Expresses Grave Concern about White House Support for Social Security Cuts
 
WASHINGTON--In response to media reports that President Obama is now proposing cuts to Social Security and additional cuts to Medicare, Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, issued the following statement today:
 
“We are gravely concerned about reports that the President is proposing cuts to retirement security programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The current deficit problem is not a result of providing retirement security to Americans; it is the product of both a jobs crisis that Washington is largely ignoring and revenue shortage that is exacerbated with tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy. If Washington would focus on creating jobs for the 24 million people who lack full time employment and make Wall Street, corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share there would be no debt or deficit issues.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are promises we’ve made to one another beginning during the Great Depression.  We must keep our promises to future generations, holding our elected leaders accountable to strengthen not weaken these invaluable programs. We expect the President and the Congress to protect retirement security for the middle class and the poor. Everyday Americans did not cause this financial crisis or this deficit; it was the result of misguided tax cuts for the rich and reckless gambling by Wall Street and bankers. 
The Center for Community Change is working with thousands of people across the country right now to come up with concrete ideas to create jobs. On July 16 and 17, more than 1,400 house meetings will be held in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to pool together the best ideas to get our economy moving again. If our elected leaders won’t focus on creating jobs, then it’s up to the American people to do it. And together, we will find a solution. But a solution would come much quicker if our President and our Congress would focus on the jobs crisis and stop paying homage to Wall Street and the wealthy.” 
 
The Center for Community Change is a national nonprofit that strengthens the leadership, voice and power of low-income communities and communities of color nationwide to confront the vital issues of today and build the social movements of tomorrow.

 

Democracy for America

"Social Security is hope for the average American working family and taking that hope away is unacceptable."
                                           - Jim Dean, Chair, Democracy for America.


Burlington, VT - Statement from Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America in response to reports that Social Security is on the bargaining table in the Debt Ceiling negotiations:

"The idea of cutting Social Security as part of these debt ceiling negotiations is simply ridiculous. At a time when America is hurting, when people are losing their jobs and their homes at an unprecedented rate, we are now going to tell the average American working family that they will have the burden of supporting their parents in old age and no retirement for themselves. The Wall Street Barons who caused this economic crisis have been getting a free ride for too long, and it's time for them to pay their fair share, plain and simple.

Cutting Social Security to reduce the national debt is like attacking Iraq to get Osama Bin Laden -- the two things are not related. Social Security is running a large surplus in 2011 and by scrapping the cap on the payroll tax over $107,000 it will be more than solvent for generations to come.[1] Only 6 percent of Americans have wages above that cap.[2] Which do we want more? More tax cuts for the rich, or Social Security for everyone else. Let's keep our priorities straight, and stop giving away the farm to Republican bullies who got us into this mess in the first place.

True freedom is the right to a fair wage, a decent life, and hope for the future. Social Security provides that hope for the average working American family and taking that hope away is unacceptable and unAmerican."

1. Social Security Admistration, Annual Statistical Supplement, 2010 (http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/supplement/2010/4b.html#table4.b4)
2. Social Security Administration data, 2011
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Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

 
For Immediate Release                                                                     Contact: Andrea Delgado
July 7, 2011                                                                                                        202-637-5120
 
LCLAA REJECTS REPORTED PLAN TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE, REDUCTIONS WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY
WASHINGTON, DC—New developments suggest that President Obama will recommend slashing Social Security and Medicare benefits to negotiate a deficit-reduction strategy with congressional leaders. In light of these reports, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) —co-founder of Latinos for a Secure Retirement— rebukes this proposal and underscores the importance of strengthening these programs rather than exacerbating hardship for some of the most vulnerable people in our nation. 
Latinos rely on Social Security for a larger share of their income and will need it for a longer period of time due to extended life expectancy.  Latinos earn less than the average U.S. worker and are more likely to earn poverty-level wages. Lower earnings among Latinos limit the Social Security benefits they can accrue throughout their lifetime (The average Social Security benefits for Latino seniors is $12,213 for men, and $9,536 for Latinas).  Furthermore, a recent poll commissioned by the Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University shows that 67 percent of Latinos report lacking an I.R.A., 401K or any other type of retirement account. 
“For years, we have been fighting to strengthen Social Security and prevent reductions in benefits and other modifications that would be detrimental to the economic security of Latinos and low-income communities. If President Obama and members of Congress are considering cuts to Social Security and Medicare, we must remind them just how crucial these entitlement programs are for Americans, particularly for Latinos.  Latino retirees rely on Social Security as a principal source of income and those still in the workforce lack employment-based pensions or other financial recourse to prepare them for retirement.  Cuts to Social Security would be devastating for our community,” stated Milton Rosado, LCLAA’s National President. 
“Social Security and Medicare help meet the basic needs of a vulnerable segment of our society and we will not support placing these programs on the chopping block.  Gutting the nation’s safety net to convince politicians to raise revenue from the wealthiest Americans and corporations does not yield a fair tradeoff.  Increasing hardship in our community is not a bargaining chip,” added Hector E. Sanchez, LCLAA’s Executive Director. 
The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) is a national Latino organization representing the interests of over 2 million Latino(a) trade unionists throughout the United States and the Common Wealth of Puerto Rico. Since its inception in 1973, LCLAA has organized and advocated for the rights of workers seeking justice in the workplace and in their communities. LCLAA is a constituency group representing Latino activists and union members belonging to the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win Federation. Visit us at http://www.lclaa.org/

 

Latinos for a Secure Retirement

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                     CONTACT: Enrique Cortez
Thursday, July 7, 2011                                    [email protected], 202-525-7411                                                                                                                                                                                    
Leading Latino Organizations Denounce
Reported Plan to Cut Social Security, Medicare
 
WASHINGTON DC – Today, news reports surfaced of a proposal being considered by the Obama Administration and Congressional leaders to cut Social Security and Medicare as part of the ongoing negotiations over the national debt.   The plan would cut the Social Security benefits of current and future retirees by changing the CPI formula used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).  Latinos for a Secure Retirement Executive Director, Jeff Cruz, issued the following statement:
 
“We are deeply disappointed to hear that the President and Members of Congress would consider turning their backs on those citizens who need these vital programs the most." As a whole, the proposed cuts would be especially painful to Latino men and women who have longer life expectancies, rely more on Social Security income and are already more economically vulnerable because many of them have lower incomes throughout their lifetime and therefore lower benefits.”
 
While keeping millions of seniors out of poverty every year, the average Social Security benefit for Latino seniors is only $12,213 for men, and only $9,536 for Latinas.  The proposed cuts are especially egregious for Latinos given that these Social Security benefits represent nearly all the income for almost half of Latino seniors.
 
The Congressional Budget Office estimates adoption of the so-called “Chained-CPI” to determine Social Security’s annual COLA would cut benefits by $112 billion over 10 years. Official estimates show that beneficiaries who retire at age 65 and receive average benefits would get $560 less a year at age 75 than they would under current law and get $1,000 less a year at age 85 – a 3.7 percent cut and a 6.5 percent cut, respectively.  The proposal would cut $1.6 trillion over Social Security’s 75 year valuation period – mainly from the oldest of the old, primarily women and disproportionately poor.
 
 "The plan to shift to a ‘Chained-CPI’ may sound like a harmless technical change, but it is a substantial cut in Social Security that will devastate millions of Americans," Mr. Cruz continued.  "Social Security has never contributed a single penny to the deficit.  Politicians who ignore the actual causes of our debt to cut modest Social Security benefits earned by hard working Americans will be held accountable by Latino voters in the next election."
 
The Latinos for a Secure Retirement (LSR) coalition brings together some of the strongest and most prominent advocates for Latinos in the country including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), The Hispanic Federation, the National Hispanic Council on Aging, MANA- A National Latina Organization, SER- Jobs for Progress National, Inc., the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly, the American GI Forum and the National Association for Hispanic Elderly. 
 
Dr. Carmela G. Lacayo, President/CEO of the National Association for Hispanic Elderly and LSR coalition member, issued the following statement: "If this Obama Administration behind-the-scenes deal is true, it is a severance of the Democratic Party's historical commitment to protect the benefits of working men and women of America.  For the Hispanic community, the majority of whom are blue collar workers this would create serious economic barriers for future retirees, the disabled and dependent children.  The major impact would hit our seniors today.  Hispanic seniors are among the poorest of the poor – Social Security benefits are the safety net for so many.  The Hispanic community must stand up and protest, we must send clear messages to our elected leaders that we will remember who truly speaks for us and protects these benefits that we have all worked for.”
 
Ignacio Salazar, President & CEO, SER-Jobs for Progress National, Inc. and LSR coalition member, issued the following statement: “Many Latinos live paycheck to paycheck when they are young and raising a family.  They do not have the extra money to save for retirement to sustain a comfortable standard of living.  If the current formula used to calculate the annual COLA is changed to the chained CPI, Social Security benefits will be decreased and further eroded by inflation.  When these young Latinos enter into retirement age with minimal retirement savings, the proposed cuts to Social Security benefits will have a devastating impact on their standard of living.”
 
Latinos for a Secure Retirement and its coalition members urge President Obama and Congress to remove this proposal from consideration. 
 
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A Coalition of Leading National Latino Organizations including
League of United Latin American Citizens | Labor Council for Latin American Advancement | The Hispanic Federation
National Hispanic Council on Aging | MANA- A National Latina Organization | SER- Jobs for Progress National, Inc.
National Association for Hispanic Elderly | American GI Forum | Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly
 

 

League of Rural Voters

Statement opposing reported plans to cut to Social Security benefits

The League of Rural Voters rejects any cuts and modifications to Social Security that would negatively affect the lives of rural Americans and their families.

Social Security plays a much more significant role in the overall income and well being of rural communities than it does in non-rural communities. Social Security is important to seniors, to disabled workers and their families, and to already hurting Main Street businesses. Cuts to Social Security and the currently debated changes to the Cost of Living Adjustment will also place a disproportionally high burden on rural women, many of whom are elevated out of poverty solely by their monthly Social Security checks.

 

To the people we fight for, this is not an abstract debate over percentage points. It is about the difference between a decent living and having to struggle to put food on the kitchen table, or pay for medical bills. Americans should not have to suffer from political brinkmanship that jeopardizes the contributions they have made to the Social Security system through their hard work. That’s why the League of Rural Voters will only support measures that truly strengthen Social Security, now and in the future.

For more information contact Niel Ritchie, Executive Director, 612.270.0276.

 
 

MoveOn.Org Political Action

 
July 7, 2011
 
Dear MoveOn member,
There are breaking news reports that President Obama is offering to cut Social Security to convince Republicans to keep the country from defaulting on its debts.1 After months of affirming that Social Security doesn't add to the deficit,2 and ruling out benefit cuts in the State of the Union,3 the White House's reversal is stunning.
Eight key Democrat and Republican leaders are coming to the White House today to address the crisis over our country's looming default.
Republicans are dominating this negotiation, because their tea party supporters are demanding that they take a hard line. If we want the president and the Democratic leadership to have any leverage in these negotiations, we have to do the same.
We have to make it absolutely clear that a deficit reduction deal that puts the primary burden on seniors and the middle class is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to the very people who vote for Democrats, donate, volunteer, and knock on door after door to get them elected.
Call right now to flood the White House with calls. Tell the president: No deal where seniors pay. No deal where the rich and corporations don't.
The White House: (202) 456-1111
The head of Strengthen Social Security, a coalition of 300 groups—including MoveOn—said this today:
If true, President Obama's proposal to cut Social Security benefits represents a betrayal of America's seniors, people with disabilities and their families... Money would be ripped out of the pockets of millions of vulnerable Americans. Women, low-income and very old retirees would be hit hardest.4
He's not alone. Polls clearly show that the American people want the rich to pay their fair share to reduce our deficit, and want Medicare and Social Security protected.5
Yet, a radical minority bent on doling out more tax breaks for the rich while slashing our government beyond recognition has taken over our politics. They've captured the Republicans, and they are trying to run over the Democratic leaders that the majority of Americans elected.
We have to change that. It's time for the reasonable majority to outdo and outflank the radical minority. That starts with your phone call.
Please pick up the phone now and let the president know that enough is enough when it comes to cuts to seniors and everyday Americans. It's time for the rich and America's corporations to do their part.
The White House: (202) 456-1111
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Adam Q., Elena, Stephen, and the rest of the team
Sources:
1. "In Debt Talks, Obama Offers Social Security Cuts," The Washington Post, July 6, 2011
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=210871&id=28657-8465115-x5yea6x&t=4
2. "Top Obama Economic Aide: Social Security Reform Not A Part Of Discussion On Fiscal Future," Huffington Post, February 22, 2011
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=210876&id=28657-8465115-x5yea6x&t=5
3. "Remarks by the President in State of Union Address," The White House, January 25, 2011
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=210877&id=28657-8465115-x5yea6x&t=6
4. "Reports of Obama Plan to Cut Social Security, if True, Represent a Betrayal to America's Seniors and Families, Charges Leader of Coalition Representing 300 Organizations," Strengthen Social Security, July 7, 2011
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=210880&id=28657-8465115-x5yea6x&t=7
5. "Poll: To Reduce Deficit, Most Americans Say Tax The Rich More", CBS News, January 3, 2011
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=210872&id=28657-8465115-x5yea6x&t=8
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National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

 
July 7, 2011
 
 
NEWS RELEASE
 
Sacrificing Social Security Benefits for Millions of Americans Isn’t Fiscal Responsibility
 
“The White House ‘Grand Bargain’ is actually a Raw Deal for Middle class families,”says the National Committee
  
“While President Obama has acknowledged that Social Security is not the cause of the federal deficit, news reports today claim the White House has now proposed Social Security cuts which would impact millions of middle class Americans for generations.  Social Security should not be used as a bargaining chip. Proposing cuts which touch virtually every American family in exchange for closing tax loopholes and ending tax cuts for the wealthy few is not ‘shared sacrifice’.
 
Social Security is a self-financed program paid for by Americans throughout their working lives.  It has kept millions from poverty for more than 75 years and has absolutely nothing to do with the federal deficit.  President Obama has promised Social Security benefits for current retirees would not be at risk and that he would not ‘slash’ benefits for future generations.  However, that’s exactly what will happen if the COLA formula is changed as has been reported. 
 
The chained CPI is nothing more than a backdoor benefit cut Washington hopes Americans won’t notice or understand.  Having weathered two years of no COLAs, Washington now wants to tell seniors that ‘nothing’ is too much.”  Max Richtman, NCPSSM Executive VP/Acting CEO
 
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The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.
 
Media Inquiries to:
Pamela Causey 202-216-8378/202-236-2123
Kim Wright 202-216-8414
 
 
 

National Council of Women’s Organizations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 8, 2011

 

Contact: Caroline Dobuzinskis, [email protected], 202.785.5100

 

 

Leaders of Women's Organizations Urge President and Congress to Protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

 

The co-chairs of the Older Women's Economic Security Task Force (OWES), part of the National Coalition of Women's Organizations (NCWO), are calling on President Obama and the U.S. Congress not to agree to benefit cuts in Social Security in an effort to reach a final budget agreement and raise the national debt limit. OWES is instead demanding a budget plan that requires the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share in taxes and generates jobs for women and men alike.

“Social Security benefits should not even be on the table,” said NOW President Terry O’Neill, who is also the co-chair of the OWES Task Force. “We are opposed to any cuts to Social Security and Medicare or Medicaid, programs that millions of women rely on.”

 

The kinds of changes being discussed, such as the ‘chained CPI’ and further increasing the retirement age above 67, would have a devastating impact on women. The chained CPI masquerades as a technical fix, but is a benefit cut pure and simple. When substituted for the current Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), it would reduce benefits immediately for everyone and have a cumulative effect over the retirement years, so that it would result in substantial benefit cuts for older recipients (a 9 percent cut after 30 years).

Women are two-thirds of retirees aged 85 and older. The average monthly Social Security check for women is about $1,000, and half of women aged 65 and older rely on Social Security for at least 80 percent of their income.

“At age 85 and older, 81 percent of women are unmarried.  It is these older, single women who will be hit the hardest by the chained CPI.  Benefit cuts should be off the table. The President and Congressional leaders should be focusing on creating jobs—economic growth is the best way to reduce the deficit,” said IWPR President, Heidi Hartmann, a labor economist who is also co-chair of OWES.

The National Council of Women's Organizations is composed of more than 240 women's organizations representing more than 12 million U.S. women. The Older Women's Economic Security (OWES) Task Force was formed in 1998 to study, monitor, and act to enhance older women's economic security. NOW and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) are co-chairs of the OWES Task Force.

 
 

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

 MEDIA CONTACT:
Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592
 
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to President Obama: 
 ‘Hands off Social Security’


WASHINGTON, July 8 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds to reports that the White House has put changes to Social Security on the table as part of budget reduction negotiations.
 
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“Hands off Social Security, Mr. President! Targeting our country’s most vulnerable and shortchanging people who have paid into Social Security their entire working lives is unfair and politically unwise. This pivot by the president — who has previously stated that Social Security doesn’t add to the federal deficit — is beyond stunning. Social Security is a promise our country must not break, for we will break it on the backs of the sick, the poor and the old. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors and disabled people rely heavily on Social Security because many are single and lack other economic resources to help them in their retirement years. In addition, LGBT people are more financially vulnerable because of pervasive discrimination in marriage and employment. Mr. President, now is the time for leadership. Don’t bend and break under the greed and financial shenanigans that pushed our country into this mess in the first place.”
  
To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit www.theTaskForce.org <http://www.theTaskForce.org
 and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce <http://www.twitter.com/thetaskforce> .
 
 
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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.      

 

National Nurses United

 
 Media Advisory, July 7, 2011
Contact:  Carl Ginsburg, (917) 405-1060, Donna Smith, (773) 617-4493, Charles Idelson, 510-273-2246
 
Nurses Call for Tax on Wall Street Trades, Not Cuts in Medicare,Social Security, Medicaid – Urge National Protests
Nurses Won’t Endorse Candidates who Cut Social Security
The nation’s leading nurses’ organization, National Nurses United, today called on the Obama administration and Congress to oppose cuts in Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, and instead increase national revenues with a tax on major Wall Street speculative activity.
NNU also urged national action, including swamping Congress with calls, to block cuts they say would endanger lives for those who count on these vital programs, especially in an economy that has not recovered for millions of Americans.
Data continues to pour in about how far the U.S. is already falling on healthcare barometers, indicators that could become far worse under the cuts now being discussed in Washington, the nurses say. (see examples below)
Earlier this year, the NNU national board voted to withhold election endorsements for any federal candidate who votes or acts to cut Social Security. NNU has some 170,000 members across the U.S.
NNU members issued the call ahead of a debate being held Friday in Washington between supporters and opponents of a financial transaction tax similar to an FTT currently on the books in more than 15 countries, including Great Britain, and under active consideration by the European Union.
A bill to enact such a measure for the U.S., which had an FTT from 1914 to 1966, is expected to be re-introduced soon.   Proponents, including NNU, say hundreds of billions of dollars could be raised annually through even a modest tax rate on financial market trades of stocks, bonds, derivatives, credit default swaps, and similar financial transactions that could be used to help rebuild America.
The debate will be held Friday, July 8, at 11:30 a.m. at the Carnegie Institute, 1530 P St. NW.
Nurses warn that further cuts to vital basic programs, especially to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid could substantially accelerate a broad decline in health and living standards linked to the ongoing recession experienced on Main Streets across America. 
In June, NNU members, joined by labor and community activists, rallied in support of such a Wall Street tax on Wall Street in New York across from the Stock Exchange, and outside the U.S. headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC.
Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of National Nurses United:   “America’s nurses see and feel broad declines in health and living standards for their patients, and their own families that are directly tied to the collapse in jobs, housing, healthcare, and other basics of what used to be called the American dream,” says NNU Co-President Deborah Burger, RN. “Nurses are calling for a change in priorities because they have seen enough, and want to stop the bleeding now.”
NNU Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro: “America has the wealth to end the despair and deprivation.  To reclaim this nation, we have to start by making Wall Street pay to undo the damage that has caused immeasurable suffering while the high rollers on Wall Street, who created this crisis, are rewarded with bailouts, bonuses, tax cuts, and regulatory rollbacks.”
More background about the nurses’ campaign is available at www.mainstreetcontract.org
·        University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in mid-June disclosed that life expectancies, relative to other developed nations, fell in more than 80 percent of U.S. counties from 2000 to 2007.  In 40 percent of U.S. counties, life expectancy for women fell five years behind countries that fared better. In five Mississippi counties, women’s average life spans trailed such poorer nations as Honduras, El Salvador, and Peru.
·        A study just released today by the National Bureau of Economic Research illustrated the consequences of cuts to Medicaid: “When poor people are given medical insurance, they not only find regular doctors and see doctors more often but they also feel better, are less depressed and are better able to maintain financial stability,” the New York Times reported.
·        Between 2003 and 2007, the average maternal mortality rate – defined by deaths that occur within 42 days of childbirth – has risen to 13 deaths per 100,000 live births, approximately double the low of 6.6 deaths per 100,000 live births recorded in 1987. Today, the United States ranks 41st in the world for maternal mortality, one of the worst records among developed countries. (Guardian, UK, July 5, 2011)
·        The U.S. already ranks just 19th among 29 industrial nations in public expenditure on pensions, according to OECD data, a stat that could plummet further if Social Security is cut.
·        A UNICEF report last December found the U.S. ranks just 22nd in health wealth being for children and 23rd in material well being for children among developed nations.
 

 

National Senior Citizens Law Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2011,
Contact: Scott L. Parkin, 202-683-1996/703-975-1769
Statement from the National Senior Citizens Law Center
White House and Congress Must Reject Cuts to Social Security!
Devastating Cut Reportedly Under Consideration!
A cut in Social Security benefits that would affect both current and future beneficiaries and would target the most vulnerable of America's elderly is reportedly a centerpiece of current budget negotiations between the White House and Congressional leaders.  This would involve a change from the measure of inflation currently used to determine the annual Social Security cost of living adjustment to something called the Chained CPI which would result in a lower official rate of inflation by assuming that when prices increase people will substitute lower price goods for the more expensive goods they may be accustomed to.   This is simply unrealistic for the overwhelming majority of older Americans and people with disabilities who rely on a modest Social Security check for the lion's share of their income.
The message for anyone with Social Security is "no money for gas, no money for the bus, then walk!," said Paul Nathanson, Executive Director of the National Senior Citizens Law Center.
Who is Most Affected by This Cut?
Since the effect of this change would be cumulative and would gradually build up year after year, the greatest impact would be on the very old, the age group which already has the lowest benefit levels and is most likely to have exhausted all other resources.  For a 95 year old this would mean a cut of 9.2% or $1,392 per year as compared to benefits calculated under the current formula.  Since women live longer than men, they too would suffer the brunt of this cut.  Asian and Hispanic Americans and people with disabilities would also suffer disproportionately.

"This is a stealth benefit cut, starting out small and gradually impoverishing more people year by year," said Paul Nathanson.  "Its greatest impact would be on those least able to afford it.  Even the measure of inflation currently used is inadequate because it fails to take into account the spiraling cost of health care which is a much larger share of expenditures for older Americans"

The Obama Administration must reject the Chained CPI and those members of Congress such as Rep. Paul Ryan who opposed any changes in benefits for current beneficiaries or those close to retirement age must not go back on their word on this important issue.

The National Senior Citizens Law Center is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to protect the rights of low-income older adults. Through advocacy, litigation, and the education and counseling of local advocates, we seek to ensure the health and economic security of those with limited income and resources, and access to the courts for all. For more information, visit our Web site at www.NSCLC.org.
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OWL – The Voice of Midlife and Older Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 8, 2011

Contact:   Bobbie Brinegar, Executive Director   1-877-653-7966

OWL – The Voice of Midlife and Older Women

OWL Opposes Dealmaking with Social Security Benefits

WASHINGTON, DC – OWL is gravely concerned about news reports that President Obama is willing to cut Social Security benefits as a compromise to Republicans in exchange for closing tax loopholes. 

Social Security is a critical safety net for millions of Americans.  The benefits it pays are earned as the result of a lifetime of hard work.  It is the largest part of income for most recipients; for almost 80% of them, it is half or more: for 60% it is more than half, for 30% it is all their income. A majority of them are women.  The average benefit is $1100 a month. This successful, self-funded program becomes more vital every day and should not be part of any debt-reduction dealmaking.

OWL, along with a large majority of Americans, opposes cuts in Social Security, including changing its “cost-of-living adjustments” formula to a chained CPI which would result in a reduction of benefits.  The “chained COLA” proposal reduces COLA by 3/10ths of one percent every year, a seemingly “small” reduction.  However, it accumulates.  After 5 years, benefits would be 1.5% behind price increases; after 10 years, 3%; after 20 years 6%.  For the majority of beneficiaries dependent on Social Security’s modest benefits, small subtractions hurt - and will hurt more every subsequent year.  “Chained COLA is a substantial benefit cut in sheep’s clothing,” said Bobbie Brinegar, Executive Director of OWL.      

We urge President Obama and members of Congress not to sacrifice the security of current and future retirees, and to take Social Security off the bargaining table.  OWL believes the debt must be addressed, but not at the expense of our nation's seniors. 

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SEIU

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement on the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations between Congress and the White House:

“Today’s disappointing jobs report is proof that Congressional Republicans' plan to hold our economic recovery hostage for their own political gain is working at the expense of millions of Americans who are still looking for work. The right wing is using the uncertainty caused by the potential of defaulting on our financial obligations as leverage to institute their cut and gut economic policies.

“We cannot accept any deal on the debt limit that harms seniors, low-income Americans or adds one more worker to the unemployment rolls. That means we cannot accept billions in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Slashing these programs would turn seniors out of nursing homes, lead to millions of lost jobs and put more families into poverty. As the negotiations continue, Congress should also take cuts to Social Security off the table. Social Security has not added one penny to our deficit and should not be the targeted as a means toward reaching a deal.

“We support President Obama's call for ending spending on tax giveaways and using that money to put people back to work. This is exactly what Americans want and need. The best way to solve our budget problems is to put workers in good middle class jobs, invest in our people and expand opportunity. Now more than ever we need leaders who put working Americans first.

“We cannot let Washington ruin whatever small chance we have left to rescue the American Dream before it is too far out of reach for working people.”

United Steel Workers

 

USW Strongly Opposes Any Cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid Benefits

 

(Pittsburgh) --This statement was released today by United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard:

 

“Quite simply, there is no place for discussion of cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid during ongoing debt ceiling negotiations. The beneficiaries of these programs -- working Americans, seniors and the poor -- did not create the fiscal dilemma confronting our nation today, and they should not be forced to pay for its resolution.

What we need is a real solution to the deficit problem and that is rebuilding our economy and creating good jobs. And let’s not forget the real reasons for our fiscal problems: unaffordable tax cuts granted the previous administration; the bailout of Wall Street; and, two lengthy and costly wars. It is unconscionable to address our debt crisis by holding hostage those least able to afford it, while high-income earners continue to receive unnecessary breaks.

 

USAction

July 8, 2011 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:   David Elliot, USAction
202.263-4567(office), 202.607.7036(cell)USACTION: NEW REVENUE, PENTAGON CUTS MUST BE ON THE TABLE. MEDICAID, MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY MUST BE OFF.

Washington, D.C.  – Any deal that raises the debt ceiling must include new revenue and responsible cuts to wasteful, obsolete Pentagon spending and must not involve significant benefit cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, USAction warned Friday.

 

USAction has mobilized its 24 state affiliates and partners and its 625,000 online supporters and asked them to urge leaders in Congress to reject any deal that fails to tax corporations and the wealthiest Americans fairly and places the burden of debt negotiations on lower- and middle-income Americans.

 

“Poll after poll after poll consistently has shown that majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents prefer increasing taxes for millionaires and closing corporate loopholes to cutting America’s vital safety net,” said Alan Charney, USAction director of policy and strategy. “When negotiations resume at the White House on Sunday, we are calling on the Democratic leadership to stand firm and respect the wishes of the American public. Millionaires, billionaires and huge corporations should be asked to pitch in, and Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security benefits should be protected. We can make progress on our debt without endangering our vital, popular and uniquely American safety net.”

 

Earlier this summer, USAction organized 152 state and national groups who called on Congress to pass the Fairness in Taxation Act, sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL. The bill would enact new tax rates for millionaires and billionaires as a way to build a strong middle class and preserve important programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

 

 

 

Wider Opportunities for Women

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2011

CONTACT: Emily Wilson: 202.464.1596 [email protected]

The Economic Security of Seniors Will be Threatened by Medicare and Social Security Cuts

Research on economic security shows many older Americans are already unable to cover basic expenses, including high health care costs

WASHINGTON, DC – Citing data from the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index), a report that shows what it costs older Americans to make ends meet, elder advocates are warning the Obama administration and members of Congress there will be severe consequences for seniors if Social Security and Medicare are cut. The Elder Index, developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Wider Opportunities for Women, shows that single elder renters on average need $20,326 a year to cover their basic expenses—significantly more than the average Social Security payment of $12,924 a year. With the disappearance of employer-sponsored pensions and the hit personal retirement plans took in the Great Recession, elders increasingly depend on Social Security benefits.

Additionally, the data shows increasing the cost of health care for seniors, already their largest expense after housing even with Medicare assistance, could force many older Americans into costly public assisted living environments, such as nursing homes.

“Social Security is already a very modest benefit that leaves many older Americans hard-pressed to cover their basic expenses,” said Joan Kuriansky, Executive Director of Wider Opportunities for Women. “Older Americans have been hit by the decline in employer-based pensions and losses in personal retirement plans due to the recession. Another cut to their incomes will threaten the ability of seniors to support themselves independently. With health care costs being a major part of older Americans’ monthly budgets, cuts to Medicare could break the bank for many seniors.”

“Seniors who worked hard for years to build our country and who can least afford to absorb additional expenses should not bear the weight of budget cuts. Cutting Social Security and Medicare is a deeply misguided move that would not only threaten the security of millions of seniors, but also the future of all hard-working Americans. In efforts to raise the debt ceiling, Americans’ top priorities—good jobs, quality education, access to affordable health care and the ability to save for retirement should not be held hostage. This artificial crisis to push a regressive public agenda will, in the process, destroy America’s standing around the globe.”

Medicare falls short of covering many basic health care expenses for seniors. The Elder Index shows that out-of-pocket medical costs are usually the second largest cost for seniors after housing, amounting to $254 a month. For older people who live on small fixed incomes, Medicaid helps fill the gap with premiums and deductibles, and many states are already curtailing services and cutting seniors from Medicaid eligibility.

Social Security provides more than 90% of income for 3 in 10 older Americans. And one in three of the 8 million individuals receiving Social Security are non-elderly survivors or disabled persons. 

State-specific Elder Indexes, which determine local costs of living for seniors by county, are available in 14 states. For more information on the Elder Index, visit: http://www.wowonline.org/ourprograms/eesi/index.asp 

 

 

 

 

 


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