Wednesday, June 30, 2010

House Republican Leader Wants to Raise Retirement Age to 70

ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS
815 16th Street, NW, 4th Floor ● Washington, D.C. 20006 ● (202)
637-5399 ● www.retiredamericans.org


For Immediate Release
Contact: David Blank (202) 637-5275
June 30, 2010
dblank@retiredamericans.org


Boehner Comments Hurtful to Workers

House GOP Leader Wants to Raise Retirement Age to 70

"John Boehner’s call to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 is not only deeply hurtful and insensitive to workers, but also reflects a dangerously flawed misunderstanding of how Social Security is financed and operates," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a four million-member grassroots advocacy organization.

House Minority Leader Boehner (R-OH) said earlier this week that if the Republicans were to win control of the U.S. House, the party would try to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 as part of a fiscal reform plan.

"Raising the retirement age to 70 would be devastating to American workers, particularly those who work in physically demanding construction and service sector jobs. Americans in their late 50s and 60s are bearing the brunt of layoffs and benefit cuts from the recession. John Boehner wants to inflict further hardship among those who are already struggling to keep or find jobs. Many people this age are facing health problems. Simply put, they cannot keep working until they are 70."

"Moreover, despite his many years in Washington, John Boehner lacks a basic understanding of Social Security. Social Security - which has kept generations of retirees out of poverty - has not added one cent to the federal budget deficit. Social Security is a self-sufficient program with a dedicated source of revenue. In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund currently has a surplus of $2.6 trillion."

Also today, Coyle testified on Capitol Hill before the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. His testimony is appended below.
________________________________________

My name is Edward F. Coyle, and I am the Executive Director of the four million-member Alliance for Retired Americans. We are a grassroots organization of retirees from labor and community-based groups.

Retirees are deeply disturbed by talk coming out of this Commission about cutting Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age.

Social Security is one of America’s greatest success stories. It has kept generations of seniors out of poverty. It did not, I repeat did not, cause these deficits. The fact is that Social Security currently has a surplus of $2.6 trillion.

The federal government does not fund Social Security - it is a fiscally conservative, self-sufficient program with a dedicated source of revenue. It is an efficient, rock-solid program, with only one percent of funds going to administrative costs. I challenge the Commission to find a federal program run as efficiently and effectively as Social Security, and one that is financially solvent for many years to come.

No one dislikes the federal debt more than today’s retirees. They do not want it to be the legacy they leave behind to their children and grandchildren. Is our federal budget deficit too large? Yes. Is it Social Security’s fault? No.

Earlier today you heard from America Speaks. Retirees are greatly disturbed that they are recommending increasing the retirement age to 69. Not only would this reduce benefits which, as I said, have nothing to do with the budget deficit, but it would be devastating to American workers, particularly those who work in physically demanding construction and service sector jobs.

Americans in their late 50s and 60s are already bearing the brunt of layoffs and benefit cuts from the recession. Raising the retirement age would inflict further hardship among a group of workers who are struggling to keep or find jobs. Many people this age face health problems in these years. Simply put, many workers cannot continue in their jobs until they are nearly 70.

The Alliance for Retired Americans strongly rejects the gloom-and-doom, sky-is-falling predictions that Social Security is going bankrupt. Not only is this factually untrue, but it is a malicious scare tactic to divert attention away from the root causes of our deficit - unwise tax and spending decisions by Washington over the past decade.

To further strengthen Social Security’s financial structure, the Alliance for Retired Americans supports raising the payroll tax cap - currently at $106,800 - for the wealthiest Americans. Right now, someone like Bill Gates is paying the same in Social Security taxes as a $106,800 worker. Experts have said that raising the cap to 90 percent of all wages would fill one-third of a projected shortfall over the next 75 years in the Social Security Trust Fund. This change would only increase taxes on six percent of all workers, but would further strengthen Social Security benefits for the remaining 94 percent of workers when they retire.

In conclusion, retirees care about more than just themselves. They worry about their children and grandchildren in these difficult times. Will they ever get to retire? And if so, what will be there for them? At a time of rising cynicism toward government, particularly among young people, it is more important than ever that our nation fully honors the promise of Social Security.

# # #

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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Who is the Real Terrorist

Why is it that I get the distinct impression that not only do Republicans want the President to fail, but they also want the country to fail.

After digging the country into such a deep hole, the Republicans fight every piece of legislation that would help us out of that hole.

As far as I'm concerned, the Republican party is the real terrorist.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thank You, YouTube

I've had a couple of interesting experiences using YouTube in the last couple of days.

First of all, I had a lawnmower carburetor that needed a good cleaning and rebuild. I got the carburetor kit and had a heck of a time trying to figure out how to use it. YouTube to the rescue with a clear video showing how to get it done correctly.

Then, this evening we were trying to put up one of those fold up canopys to be used for a church gathering. We wanted to see how hard it was to put up. Gosh, what an experience that was. The directions weren't that clear to us, so we went on YouTube to find some help. Sure enough, there were two videos that were able to show us what we were doing wrong.

There's a video on YouTube to help with just about any problem. Some times a person just needs to see something done.

Anythings easy if you know how.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Light Bulbs to Buy

The next time you're shopping for environmentally friendly light bulbs, the United Steelworkers would like you to take a look at Sylvania Super Saver halogen bulbs. Union workers make them in the USA at a Pennsylvania plant. They're available at Lowe's, Menard's, online through Sylvania and at many BJ Wholesale Club stores in the Midwest. These bulbs are very important to the USW and are a mercury-free alternative to compact fluorescent bulbs made in China.

Thanks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How The New Health Reform Law Benefits Seniors

Provides relief to seniors who fall into the Medicare “doughnut hole” to
help you cover the cost of prescriptions
Already, the first round of $250 rebate checks are in the mail to help seniors
who have been hitting the gap in Medicare Part D prescription coverage.
Next year, prescription drug prices will be cut in half for seniors who hit the
coverage gap.

Protects guaranteed Medicare benefits
Guaranteed benefits are protected regardless of whether you are in Original
Medicare or Medicare Advantage. You’ll also see new benefits and cost
savings to help ensure you get the care you need.

Makes preventive care and annual physicals for seniors free of charge
Currently, seniors are forced to pay as much as 20 percent of the cost of
preventive services such as colorectal cancer screenings and mammograms.

Curbs costs and strengthens Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste
Reform will cut the rate of fraudulent Medicare payments in half by 2012,
extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 12 years and curbing costs
for seniors.

Prevents insurance companies from instituting unreasonable rate hikes that
pad their profits and increase Medicare costs for seniors
The new law strengthens the administration’s and states’ ability to combat
unfair insurance premium rate hikes.

Promotes affordable long-term care options for seniors
Reform institutes a voluntary program to help seniors and people with
disabilities get support to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

Protects seniors by helping to eliminate elder abuse, neglect, and
exploitation
Health reform provides funding for projects that provide greater protection
to those in long-term care facilities and requires the immediate reporting of
suspected crimes to law enforcement officials.

Improves quality of care in nursing homes
The new law creates a standardized complaint form for residents and
establishes a nationwide program for background checks of nursing home
employees.
Source: Organizing for America

Friday, June 18, 2010

Indiana Alliance Turns Concern About Home Health Care Funds into Action


Indiana seniors and people with disabilities who rely on home health care could experience a 15% funding reduction in the publicly funded care they receive come July 1. That could result in many more Hoosiers being forced into nursing homes rather than remaining in their homes while receiving less-expensive home health care visits. Civic leaders from the Indiana Home Care Task Force, including Indiana Alliance members, shared their concerns Wednesday in Terre Haute as they talked about the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s decision to reduce funding for the CHOICE home care program, and continue a freeze on enrolling new clients in the Medicaid aged and disabled waiver. Alliance President Elmer Blankenship is especially vocal about the cause - sadly, he even knows people who say they have saved up pills to use to commit suicide rather than go into a nursing home.
Source: Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Poor Poor BP

The CEO of the oil company responsible for the gushing oil spoiling the Gulf Coast beaches and destroying the habitat of thousands of animals, fish, birds and whales refused to apologize today at a congressional hearing. But someone did apologize.

Republican congressman Joe Barton told BP CEO Tony Hayward that he was sorry. And what was he sorry for?...... He said he was sorry that President Obama told BP to provide 20 billion dollars for an escrow fund to help the victims of the disaster. He said that forcing BP to make good on their promise to pay all of the claims arising out of the disaster by putting the money in an escrow fund was a "tragedy in the first proportion."

It is no surprise to me that other well known right wingers are saying the same thing. Barton is from Texas.....Bush country......oil country, and he gets millions in donations from the oil companies. The people in the Gulf are suffering, and that suits right wingers just fine.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

USW Boost Launch of American-made Sylvania Super Saver Halogen Light Bulbs

New Sylvania Super Saver halogen light bulbs made with glass from a USW-represented plant in Wellsboro, Pa. have been successfully launched at one of the nation’s largest home improvement centers.

Initial sales at Lowe’s home improvements stores have exceeded expectations, said Barry Mortimer, a member of Local 1001 in Wellsboro and the local’s Rapid Response coordinator.

“I honestly believe it was totally Steelworker driven. Our plant manager, Matt Gontarz, has thanked us many times for our involvement,” Mortimer said.

The familiar incandescent light bulb is being phased out as a result of new federal regulations designed to increase energy efficiency.

As a result, some major manufacturers are closing production capacity in the United States and producing more efficient bulbs in China and other countries.

Osram Sylvania, however, has decided to manufacture its Sylvania Super Saver halogen bulbs at existing facilities in the United States, including the USW plant in Wellsboro.

Mortimer said the company confirmed 22,000 units were sold in the first week of the May product launch at Lowe’s with little corporate advertising behind it.

Lowe’s is considering showcasing the bulbs in end of aisle displays in all of its stores, a marketing strategy that should increase sales, Mortimer said.

The USW has promoted the bulb through its Rapid Response network, the Alliance for American Manufacturing and in mailings and other publications including USW@Work.

“The success of this lamp in my opinion can be contributed to all our union Brothers and Sisters who have worked very hard to get the word out about this union-made product,’’ Mortimer said.

“I would like to take this opportunity, on the behalf of the Brothers and Sisters of Local 1001, to thank those who have diligently made a point to buy American-made products. Thank you for all of your help.”


The new Sylvania Super Saver halogen bulbs can be produced on existing equipment and do not have some of the potential health hazards of its main competition, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs that are largely made in China with toxic mercury as a key ingredient.


The Super Saver halogen bulb, if it continues to sell well, should support USW jobs at Wellsboro as the traditional incandescent bulb is taken off the market over the next few years.


Wellsboro currently produces the envelope or outer glass portion of light bulbs that are assembled at Osram-Sylvania’s plant in Saint Mary’s, Pa.

In addition to Lowe’s, the Sylvania Super Saver can be purchased in Menards and many BJ’s Wholesale Club stores in the Midwest. They can also be purchased on line at: http://www.sylvaniaonlinestore.com

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Retirement for Some, is gardening

Since retirement, gardening has been a big part of my daily enjoyment. In the garden, I can truly get away from it all....and some of us need to do that once in awhile.

Even in retirement, a person's day is chuck full of things to do. Some important in trying to make the lives of others better. Some, just everyday home maintenance and maintaining family harmony. But we also need some time for ourselves. That's where gardening comes in. A way to disappear. A way to escape from all those other pressures in life.

The year has started off pretty good here in Northern Indiana for gardeners. Plenty of rain and sunshine and heat. Everything is growing nicely. Grapes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, raspberries, potatoes, peas, beans, summer and winter squash, onions, herbs and lettuce, Gooseberries and cherries and peaches.

It's always fun to go out each morning and see the progress over night.

I hope every retiree has an equally valuable way to "getaway" without leaving home.

Here, I have to have my garden fenced in to keep out the deer, possum, raccoons, ground hogs and turkeys. I wish I didn't need a fence, but it's a necessity.

I wish everyone could learn to enjoy a garden as I do.