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Showing posts from June, 2011

For Emerging Retirees from UNION PLUS

New Low-Cost Income Annuity Helps Union Members
Protect Their Spending Power in Retirement

If your pension or Social Security benefit falls short of covering your monthly living expenses, the peaceful retirement you’d anticipated can become a worrisome financial juggling act. Now, thanks to your newest union benefit, you have the opportunity to convert some of your savings into guaranteed income that can continue for the rest of your life (1).  In exchange for higher payments, an income annuity permanently converts principal to a guaranteed income stream.

The new Union Plus Annuity Program allows you to convert a sum of money from your savings (the premium) into a lifelong series of steady, guaranteed income payments, depending upon option chosen. Union members pay no agent fees or commissions, maximizing the annuity income they will receive. In fact, you may benefit from higher monthly income than your savings would generate outside an annuity.

Fixed-income annuities …

Deer buck in June

This white tail buck showed up yesterday. He was with his brother who also had a nice rack. I wish I could have photographed both of them in the same shot but they wouldn't get close enough to each other.

Free Guide to Medicare Changes

The Affordable Care Act is changing the health-insurance marketplace in big ways. The first changes took effect Sept. 23, 2010. Many more will roll out over the next several years. Medicare and Medicaid are affected, too. But what does the new law mean for you and your family? Download our guides for answers from the Consumers Guide website.

Medicare: 6 thing you need to know now is a great publication.

AARP is not the ARA

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that AARP is willing to consider benefit cuts to Social Security.

The Alliance for Retired Americans and our Strengthen Social Security allies are totally opposed to this position.

Ed Coyle, the Executive Director of the Alliance responded, “The story in the Wall Street Journal – which states that AARP supports cutting Social Security benefits - makes it apparent to me that AARP is not representing their members on this issue. AARP does not speak for all seniors.  There is no ambiguity on where the Alliance for Retired Americans stands on Social Security - never has been, never will be. We are against Social Security benefit cuts. The current economic recession is all the proof we need to know that Social Security frequently is the only safety net that keeps millions of seniors in their homes with food on their tables.”

This change in position by AARP could give political cover to those members of Congress who are wavering on this issue an…

Retiree Leader Reacts to AARP Position on Social Security Cuts

 Stresses Alliance Remains Opposed to Cuts, and Always Will Be
“My name is Ed Coyle, and I am the Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a 4 million-member advocacy organization for older Americans.

“The story in the Wall Street Journal today – which states that AARP supports cutting Social Security benefits - makes it apparent to me that AARP is not representing their members on this issue.

“I will leave it to AARP’s members to decide how they feel about this.

“AARP does not speak for all seniors.  And on this topic probably not for many of their own members.

“There is no ambiguity on where the Alliance for Retired Americans stands on Social Security - never has been, never will be.

“We are against Social Security benefit cuts for seniors.

“The current economic recession is all the proof we need that Social Security frequently is the only safety net that keeps millions of seniors in their homes with food on their tables.

“We have heard the argument that…

Republicans Want to Do Away With Medicare

What's Wrong With The Economy

Are There Empty Chairs Where You Work?

Here We Go Again- GOP Offers Social Security Privatization Legislation

Republican members in the House have introduced legislation which would take your Social Security contributions and give them to Wall Street. For those in Congress who routinely target safety net programs, like Social Security and Medicare, this Social Security plan is the perfect companion legislation for the GOP/Ryan Budget.  Ryan’s CouponCare plan would put insurance companies in charge of seniors’ healthcare while the so-called “SAFE” act would put Wall Street in charge of your retirement savings.

Do you feel safe?

“This Social Security proposal is political opportunism at its worst.  Supporters use the current fiscal crisis–which Social Security has not contributed to in any way– as an opportunity to defund a program many of these members do not support in the first place. The privatization of Social Security does not have support among any age-group or political affiliation once you step outside the Beltway but it remains goal #1 for those who want Wall Street in charge of bill…

Name this flower

Click on photo to enlarge.

Here's what you already knew

This shows you just how much some of our lawmakers think of our senior citizens. I encourage all of you to go to the Alliance for Retired Americans to see the full report.

The blue check marks indicate favorable votes. The red X's indicate that the guy voted against the best interest of seniors.

Don't Do a Job Unsafely

One of the reasons I retired early is because I wanted to retire in one piece. Too many bosses at NIPSCO were more interested in getting the job done quickly without seeming to care much about doing the job safely.

No worker has to do a job in an unsafe manner. That's why I never refused to do a particular job. I have however, refused to do a job in the manner that the boss wanted me to do it.

I remember one time down at Royal Center Underground Gas Storage, the boss wanted me to reattach a guy wire on a chimney. The way he wanted me to do it would require me to get into a 55 gallon drum which had been reinforced with steel rods and then be lifted up by the use of a crane.

I had seen crane cables slip before, and told this boss that I would be happy to attach the guy wire by use of a bucket truck but I wasn't going to be lifted up with a crane.

So what did the boss do? He found another worker who was willing to break this safety rule to do the job. That happens a lot.


Support HR 639 Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act

I call upon all our SOAR members who live in their respective congressional districts to call their congressional representatives to support and co-sponsor HR 639 which is now pending in Congress. If your representative has already co-sponsored this bill, thank them for their support.

As you well know, the Chinese have been manipulating their currency (at times up to 40%) to make U.S.  imports more costly and chinese exports less costly in the international marketplace. HR 639 will corect this unjust trade issue and put America on a more level playing field with the government of China.

Passage of this bill also has the potential of creating 500,000 to one million jobs in America. The bill would also have a tremendous effect in reducing our present deficit. Please take the time to call and get your congress person on board to help save and create jobs in America.

Jim Bickhart USW District 4

Hot Hot Hot

It's on days like today with temperatures nearing 100 degrees that I recall my days working in NIPSCO generating stations. All too often workers were overcome by the heat when working for some nitwit inexperienced supervisor.

Remember this.....when it comes to your own safety, you're the boss. Take a break when you need to and drink plenty of water. Don't let some stinking boss who is trying to impress his own boss keep you from maintaining your health.

Too many times workers are murdered by bosses like that. They don't give a rip about you. They only care about themselves.

Elvis Has Left The Building

For the past ten days we've had an unwelcomed visitor ....... a bat. Since he took up residence in our home, we named him Elvis.

We've been trying to catch the darned thing ever since. We had all the necessary equipment in place. Bad mitton rackets, fishing net, plastic curtains covering the doorway to keep him from goint into other parts of the house and a string fastened to the door knob so we could close it quickly when he entered the room.

Every evening at 9:30, Elvis made his appearance by flying up from the cellar and circling around the room but we kept missing him.

Tonight, when Elvis made his appearance, I pulled the string. The door slammed shut. Elaine messed up his flight pattern with the fish net. I put the net over Elvis. Elaine opened the back door. Elvis began crawling through the hole in the net. Somehow we managed to persuade him to exit.

We're both exhausted and are sure glad this ordeal is over.

Friday Alert

June 3, 2011 edition

2010 Alliance Voting Record, Compiling Key Congressional Votes, is Now Available
On Tuesday, the Alliance released its 2010 Congressional Voting Record, detailing the votes of every U.S. Senator and Representative on key issues affecting current and future retirees. The document is available at “At a time when Congress has been debating the future of Social Security and Medicare, it is more important than ever that people of all ages know the issues and how their elected officials voted,” said Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling. The voting record examines ten key Senate votes and ten key House votes from 2010, giving the roll calls on issues such as strengthening Medicare, help for Social Security recipients, and protecting older Americans from consumer and lending fraud. According to the Voting Record, 183 U.S. House Members achieved perfect scores of 100% in 2010, while 83 members of the House received scores of zero. Rep. Paul Ryan (R…

Our Growing Inequality

Since the 1970s, the CEO class and their political allies have used policy to reshape our economy to their benefit.  They’ve gotten excessive tax breaks for corporations and the very richest, trade policies that rob our communities of good jobs, deregulation that left average Americans unprotected from financial fallout and laws that encourage union-busting.  Last year they even got a court case – Citizens United – that allows unlimited corporate dollars to influence our elections.

These policies matter a great deal.  They are creating a massive wealth and income gap in our country.  Take a look at the numbers:

The richest one percent of Americans owns over 35 percent – more than one-third – of our nation's wealth.The four hundred wealthiest Americans now have more cash, stock and property than the combined total of half of America’s households. Median CEO pay jumped 27 percent in 2010. Workers’ pay grew just 2.1 percent in 2010.The average hourly wage in 1972, adjusted for inflati…