Friday, September 30, 2011

Medicare Part D Has New Schedule

When Can You Join a Medicare Drug Plan

Between October 15 – December 7, anyone can join, switch, or drop a Medicare drug plan. The change will take effect on January 1 as long as the plan gets your request by December 7.

Source: medicare web site

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Right to Work

Right to Work
by Larry Keller

Chicago - In this wonderful Country of ours where freedom of speech is a tradition, the spokesman for the National Right to Work Committee abused the privilege with his confusion about unions, in his letter to the "Voice of the People" last week.

The truth about the Right to Work Committee's philosophy is the so-called right to work in a union shop getting:

    •    union wages and benefits
    •    union protection and security
    •    union representation, and
    •    union collective bargaining...

all without paying union dues.

Isn't that the same as:
    •    Getting the benefits of a community without paying taxes?
    •    Subscribing to the Tribune without paying the carrier?
    •    Being a member of a (religious) congregation without contributing?

If a worker does not want to pay union dues he has the free, American right to find a job where the workers have not elected to have a union. In this Great Country a citizen does not say the President is not my President because I did not vote for him. In this Great Country a worker should not be able to say I refuse to pay union dues because I did not vote for the union -- but I want the same wages, hours, benefits and job protection that the union negotiates for its dues-paying members.

Union members are citizens, voluntarily joined together by majority vote, for the benefit of them all. That, too, is an American tradition.

Lawrence Keller

The above letter was first published in the "Voice of the People" section of the Chicago Tribune on June 1, 1984. Larry was the SOAR Representative for the old United Steelworkers of America District 31.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finally, An American Jobs Plan Worth Fighting For

Sisters and Brothers,

The proposed American Jobs Act has the potential to create 4.3 million new jobs over the next couple of years – many of them in the manufacturing and other fields that employ our members.

We’ve created an online toolkit at www.usw.org/jobs where you can find fact sheets, talking points, video and other resources to help you find the facts about this proposal.

Obviously, no plan is perfect, and we do not and will not support new free trade agreements with Columbia, South Korea and Panama. We also will examine closely any proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid before taking a stand on those issues.

But we can’t ignore all the good that in this plan.

The Economic Policy Institute is estimating the president’s plan could create 4.3 million new jobs. And the Alliance for American Manufacturing in a study with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst says that for every $1 billion in infrastructure spending, 18,000 new jobs would be created, including jobs in metals, concrete, cement, glass, rubber, plastics, wood and steel.

Among other things, President Obama’s plan, which adds no new government spending, calls for modernizing schools and investing $50 billion in rebuilding roads, bridges, transit, port, rail, communications and energy systems. That supports a potential 900,000 jobs in many of our core manufacturing industries.
And since we know every manufacturing job pays on average 10-50 percent more than service sector jobs and supports five more jobs in a community, the ripple effect could be huge.

The jobs plan is also a good reason to push other parts of our agenda, including the creation and implementation of a coordinated manufacturing policy that would:
  • Establish a national infrastructure bank to leverage capital for large-scale transportation and energy projects.

  • Reshape the tax code in a revenue neutral way to provide incentives for job creation and investment. Research and Development tax credits should help firms that not only innovate in America but also make their products here.

  • Lower tax rates for manufacturing activity in America and eliminate tax shelters for hedge funds or financial transactions that have no real value.

  • Consistent with our international obligations, apply "Buy America" domestic content provisions to all federal spending to ensure that American workers and businesses get the first shot at procurement contracts. 

  • Shift some education investment to rebuilding our vocational and technical skills program, which would address looming shortages in the manufacturing sector.

  • Refocus the trade agenda by giving American businesses new tools to counter China's currency manipulation, industrial subsidies, intellectual property theft and barriers to market access.

  • Condition new federal loan guarantees for energy projects on the utilization of domestic supply chains for construction.


Focusing on manufacturing not only helps solve the need for jobs, but also will lower our trade deficit, which will make it easier for America to pay its bills.
 
We simply cannot continue to allow Congress to do nothing to address our jobs crisis! 
We’ll do our best to help keep you informed, including by keeping the newly created online “USW American Jobs Act Tool Kit” updated regularly. You can find it at www.usw.org/jobs.


In Solidarity,

Leo W. Gerard
USW International President

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The American Jobs Act

WHAT THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT MEANS FOR INDIANA
President Obama has announced a comprehensive plan to create jobs: the American Jobs Act. The purpose of the plan is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. And it would do so without adding a dime to the deficit.
Here are the five main components of the plan, and details on how some of the programs the President has proposed would affect Indiana:

1. TAX CUTS TO HELP AMERICA’S SMALL BUSINESSES HIRE AND GROW
The President’s plan will cut the payroll tax in half to 3.1% for employers on the first $5 million in wages, providing broad tax relief to all businesses but targeting it to the 98 percent of firms with wages below this level. In Indiana, 110,000 firms will receive a payroll tax cut under the American Jobs Act.

2. PUTTING WORKERS BACK ON THE JOB WHILE REBUILDING AND MODERNIZING AMERICA
The President’s plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, helping to modernize an infrastructure that now receives a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job. Of the investments for highway and transit modernization projects, the President’s plan will make immediate investments of at least $703,000,000 in Indiana that could support a minimum of approximately 9,100 local jobs.
The President is proposing to invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers, while supporting the hiring of tens of thousands more and keeping cops and firefighters on the job. These funds would help states and localities avoid and reverse layoffs now, and will provide $629,300,000 in funds to Indiana to support up to 9,100 educator and first responder jobs.
The President is proposing a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools—investments that will create jobs, while improving classrooms and upgrading our schools to meet 21st century needs. Indiana will receive $443,400,000 in funding to support as many as 5,800 jobs.
The President is proposing to invest $15 billion in a national effort to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. Indiana could receive about $360,800,000 to revitalize and refurbish local communities, in addition to funds that would be available through a competitive application.
The President’s plan proposes $5 billion of investments for facilities modernization needs at community colleges. Investment in modernizing community colleges fills a key resource gap, and ensures these local, bedrock education institutions have the facilities and equipment to address current workforce demands in today’s highly technical and growing fields. Indiana could receive $79,800,000 in funding in the next fiscal year for its community colleges.

3. PATHWAYS BACK TO WORK FOR AMERICANS LOOKING FOR JOBS
Drawing on the best ideas of both parties and the most innovative states, the President is proposing the most sweeping reforms to the unemployment insurance (UI) system in 40 years to help those without jobs transition to the workplace. This could help put the 155,000 long-term unemployed workers in Indiana back to work.
Alongside these reforms, the President is reiterating his call to extend unemployment insurance, preventing 47,700 people looking for work in Indiana from losing their benefits in just the first 6 weeks. And, across the country, the number saved from losing benefits would triple by the end of the year.
The President is proposing a new Pathways Back to Work Fund to provide hundreds of thousands of low-income youth and adults with opportunities to work and to achieve needed training in growth industries. Pathways Back to Work could place 2,500 adults and 5,600 youths in jobs in Indiana.

4. TAX RELIEF FOR EVERY AMERICAN WORKER AND FAMILY
The President’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut passed last December by cutting workers’ payroll taxes in half next year. A typical household in Indiana, with a median income of around $44,000, will receive a tax cut of around $1,360.

5. FULLY PAID FOR AS PART OF THE PRESIDENT’S LONG-TERM DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN
To ensure that the American Jobs Act is fully paid for, the President will call on the Joint Committee to come up with the additional deficit reduction necessary to pay for the Act and still meet its deficit target. The President will, in the coming days, release a detailed plan that will show how we can do that while achieving the additional deficit reduction necessary to meet the President’s broader goal of stabilizing our debt as a share of the economy.

For more about the plan and how it would affect communities across the country, visit AmericanJobsAct.com.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How President Obama's Proposed "American Jobs Act" will help manufacturing

In addition to the proposed  $50 billion investment in infrastructure, the plan could result in thousands of manufacturing jobs – upwards of 1 million, according to some estimates. And since we know every manufacturing job pays on average 10-50 percent more than service sector jobs and supports five more jobs in a community, the ripple effect could be huge. 

The jobs plan is also a good reason to push other parts of our agenda, including the creation and implementation of a coordinated manufacturing policy that would:

•        Establish a national infrastructure bank to leverage capital for large-scale transportation and energy projects.
•        Reshape the tax code in a revenue neutral way to provide incentives for job creation and investment. Research and Development tax credits should help firms that not only   innovate in America but also make their products here.
•        Lower tax rates for manufacturing activity in America and eliminate tax shelters for hedge funds or financial transactions that have no real value.
•        Consistent with our international obligations, apply "Buy America" domestic content provisions to all federal spending to ensure that American workers and businesses get the first shot at procurement contracts.
•        Shift some education investment to rebuilding our vocational and technical skills program, which would address looming shortages in the manufacturing sector.
•        Refocus the trade agenda by giving American businesses new tools to counter China's currency manipulation, industrial subsidies, intellectual property theft and barriers to market access.
•        Condition new federal loan guarantees for energy projects on the utilization of domestic supply chains for construction.

Focusing on manufacturing not only helps solve the need for jobs, but also will lower our trade deficit, which will make it easier for America to pay its bills.

We simply cannot continue to allow Congress to do nothing to address our jobs crisis! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Retiree Leader Praises Obama

 
Retiree Leader Praises Obama Economic Proposal
Would Strengthen Nation, Honor Commitment to Social Security

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans:

“Retirees laud President Obama for proposing bold ways to revitalize the American economy that are supported by sound fiscal choices and priorities. The President’s stand on increased revenues will address the nation’s debt in a fair and reasonable manner.

“We are particularly pleased that President Obama today reaffirmed his strong commitment to Social Security.  Unlike congressional Republicans and presidential candidates, President Obama recognizes the importance of Social Security and will not try to lower federal spending on the backs of current and future retirees.  Seniors applaud the President for maintaining the current eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security.

“It is particularly important that, as we make key investments in our future, we continue to honor our nation’s 76-year commitment to Social Security.  Social Security is a truly great American success story, keeping generations out of poverty.  We are no longer a nation where you work until you die.

“We will work closely with Administration and congressional officials to ensure that seniors do not face unfair cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, which help millions of elderly and low-income Americans stay healthy.

“President Obama wants to rebuild America the right way: making smart investments, asking more from those who have sacrificed far too little, and continuing the promise of Social Security for workers and retirees.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

There's No Question: We Need Jobs


Americans want action on jobs!  A CNN/Opinion Research poll released this week found that 65 percent of Americans would rather President Obama and Congress focus on job creation than deficit reduction.  Meanwhile, the Census Bureau just released a new report covering key indicators of how our nation faired in 2010.  The data is mostly grim – and in all likelihood has not improved for 2011.  All indicators reinforce the fact that good jobs are desperately needed now!

  • The number of Americans in poverty in 2010 jumped to a record-breaking 46.2 million, including 16.4 million kids.  That number is equivalent to the population of a whopping 24 states plus the District of Colombia.*  
  • Median household income declined by $1,154 from 2009 to 2010.
  • Employment-based health coverage dropped from 56.1 percent in 2009 to 55.3 percent in 2010.  Key parts of the Affordable Care Act that will help address some of these issues do not begin until 2014.
Safety-net programs helped prevent further devastation.

  • An additional 3.2 million Americans were kept from poverty by unemployment insurance benefits.
  • If Social Security payments were excluded from income, the number of Americans over 65 living in poverty would be 14 million higher.
  • Public health programs like the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid helped fill some of the gap for those losing insurance from employers. 
For a bit of good news. . .


  • More young adults had health insurance coverage in 2010 thanks to the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 25. Among 18-to-24 year olds, the rate rose from 70.7 percent having insurance in 2009 to 72.8 percent in 2010.
Watch for more information on strategies for job creation coming soon, including information on the President’s American Jobs Act.  Thank you to all who have taken action to save jobs by opposing the free trade agreements.  Please keep up the pressure!

* Equal to the combined population of AK, AR, CT, DE, DC, HI, ID, IA, KS, ME, MI, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, UT, VT, WV and WY based off the Census Bureau’s Annual Population Estimate, 2009. The poverty line is currently set at $22,113 for a family of four.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Alert Sept 16 Issue - Alliance for Retired Americans

White House Appears Unlikely to Put Social Security Cuts Back on the Table
White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage has said that President Obama’s deficit proposal will not include any changes to Social Security, reiterating the President’s belief that Social Security did not cause the immediate deficit problem. Aides say that the President’s plan to fix the debt will be modeled after a series of proposals he made in April: $4 trillion in budget savings over 12 years, through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, without touching Social Security benefits. However, the President’s proposals are not binding; Obama must submit the new plan to the special bipartisan congressional “Super Committee” that has been tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings by the end of the year. The committee may not only be getting proposals from the President.  At a news conference on Thursday, a group of about 30 Democratic and Republican senators urged the special panel to find far more savings than the $1.5 trillion target it has set for itself. This group of senators is also considering making its own proposal. “We cannot let down our guard,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.  “Unfortunately, Social Security is not beyond the reach of many who still want to cut it.”

Social Security Program a Big Topic at Monday’s GOP Debate
At the GOP debate on Monday night, Social Security was a hot issue. The candidates repeatedly stated that Social Security is broken, and they agreed that Social Security would face cuts in the coming years. They also talked about reorganizing the system, and that would undoubtedly have a major effect on the way the program is run as a whole. Two of the most opinionated candidates were Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Perry argued for private savings accounts as an alternative to Social Security, a practice that was put into place in his home state. Romney repeatedly questioned Perry’s ultraconservative view of the constitutionality of Social Security. Perry believes that control of Social Security should be given to the states, which would mean astronomical changes. Perry went on to say that he completely disagrees with the creation of Social Security and Medicare in the first place. “If what you're trying to say is that back in the '30s and the '40s that the federal government made all the right decision, I disagree with you,” he declared. Perry accused Romney of calling private sector-Social Security “criminal,” which Romney refuted as a misquote. “Overall, the theme of the night seemed to indicate that Social Security would not be safe in the hands of any of the GOP candidates. The Republicans’ main goal is to cut spending, and they are not afraid to do that on the backs of seniors,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. To see a comparison of Rick Perry and Mitt Romney on Social Security, go to http://bit.ly/qqlgi5.

Galveston: Why the Federal Government Needs to Continue to Run Social Security
In the late 1970s Galveston’s county employees made the decision to opt out of Social Security and open personal saving accounts.  They did this out of fear that Social Security would not be around when it came time for them to retire. This move has been the prime example for those who oppose Social Security as it is currently structured, especially the Republicans in the 2012 presidential race. According to independent studies, individuals who are on the lower end of the income spectrum did not do well with the personal accounts. The studies have shown that the lower one’s income and the longer one lived after retirement, the less advantage there was to private accounts. This was partly because payments did not increase with inflation as they would have with Social Security. Even backers of the personal accounts, who claim that the government agencies used skewed numbers, acknowledge that the Galveston program may not be as beneficial to lower earners, because the program does not distribute the money according to a formula that helps the lower earners, as Social Security does. “Having the states run Social Security would only produce more results like those in Galveston, which at a minimum hurt the middle class and those who earn less,” said Ms. Easterling.

Social Security Payroll Tax on Incomes over $250,000 Proposed
Currently, active workers and their employers each owe a payroll tax on a worker’s wages up to $106,800 for Social Security. Congressional liberals have proposed raising the payroll tax to include income above $250,000 a year for individuals. This legislation is designed to keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years, by putting an additional $6.5 trillion into the Social Security trust fund over that period. The sponsor of the House bill, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), believes that it is time to stop discussing raising the retirement age, cutting benefits, and privatization. Sponsors in the Senate include Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). During President’s Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, he proposed the same type of payroll tax increase. “The concern lies in getting this bill past the Republicans, because they have made it their stance to oppose any increase in taxes,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. Recently Obama, in an effort to stimulate the economy, has proposed paring the planned 6.2 percent payroll tax on employees next year to 3.1 percent, and cutting the payroll tax to employers as well. He wants to replace the revenue that would be lost to Social Security with money from the government’s overall budget.

New on the Alliance Web Site
More photos from last week’s Alliance Legislative Conference are available on our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/retiredamericans. You can also use the “Search” area to search for photos of you, your state or your union in the Alliance photostream. For the latest photos and more from the Alliance Legislative Conference, go to http://bit.ly/pjVbXy. Finally, for the latest fact sheets on Social Security from the Alliance’s Department of Government and Political Affairs, go to http://www.retiredamericans.org/issues/social-security

Monday, September 12, 2011

There is a Spring in our Step

What follows is a Prayer by Rev. Clete Kiley offered at the Alliance for Retired Americans Legislative Conference last week in Washington, D.C..

"Next Sunday will mark 10 years since the terrible of events that occurred in New York, in Washington at the Pentagon and at Shanksville, Pa. We remember union members and first responders who were there for the recovery and for the rebuilding. We remember union members lost that terrible day along with other friends - almost 3,00 that day. WE remember also our Service members who have lost their lives since that day in the ongoing war on terror. Let us pause for a moment of silence to remember. To remember is to hold them in life again.

Let us pray.

“ O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds; And now that I am old and gray, O God, forsake me not till I proclaim your strength to every generation that is to come .”
Ps. 71: 17-19

Lord, the words of the Psalmist capture well our spirit here today. We may be old and we may be gray, or, if not gray, we probably have a good hair stylist.  But we have not forgotten where we come from. We recognize the hand of your providence in our lives. Since we were young you have done great things. Some of us here are from that group they called “The Greatest Generation”; some of us are the leading edge of that group they call “The Baby Boomers”- what wonderful things we have seen in our lives!

In our youth some of us tasted the bitter harvest of the great depression.  Even later some of us watched our own mothers and fathers go to work in poor paying jobs, risking their lives each day in unsafe work places. But we also grew up imbued with our parents’ and grandparents’ faith in You and their belief in this country. At our kitchen tables we learned first-hand the meaning of courage and sacrifice. We learned the value of solidarity and standing together. With Your vision as a guide they taught us to take up our role making this country strong, with plentiful work, and decent wages and safe working conditions- a true economic democracy. From our youth and now in our senior years we remain committed to this task. Our work isn’t finished yet-not till we proclaim these values to every generation that is to come.

We can see that those coming behind us are going to need Your strength, Lord. There are dark forces at work today here in this country. Forces that do not remember You nor where they came from. They think democracy is about getting luxuries for an elite few rather than insuring the necessities for the many. They think it is somehow patriotic to move American jobs overseas. They think unbridled, unregulated business is the way to the new Promised Land. But, we know it is the path to hell for too many.

These folks have forsaken the American Dream, forsaken their promise to us seniors, and forsaken the faith and the sense of community You and our parents imbued in us.
It is bad enough they have forsaken us and want to mess around with our pensions.
It is bad enough they have forsaken us and want to cut Social Security and Medicare.
It is bad enough they have forsaken us and want to suppress our voting rights with these voter I.D. schemes.

But now we see them dashing the hope of those coming after us. And that is the last straw! They want to strip them of their right to collectively bargain. They want to break our unions. They want to suppress the voice of working people in the national discourse. They want to fix the economic damage caused by billionaires by blaming and then crushing the middle class. They don’t want the flourishing economic democracy we built, but rather a land of privilege for a few served by whoever they can get at the cheapest rate. They don’t care in their board rooms that their products are made by forced labor, or indentured servants, or by children as long as the profits are high. These forces have forsaken us; they have forsaken our country; they have forsaken our dream, and they have forsaken You, Lord.
But You will not forsake us, Lord. Nor will we forsake You. We Retired Americans through our Alliance have a job to do. We need to keep the Dream of the American Democracy alive. We built this democracy. We fought to defend it. It is our’s. And it is not for sale. We will keep it alive for the generations to come. We will teach them that labor unions are not the cause of economic woes, but rather the guarantors of safety in the workplace, a living wage, and the week-end. We will pass on to the generations to come that same hope and confidence, that same faith and sense of sacrifice and community that we received from the generations before us.

Lord, we may be old and we may be gray, but there is a spring in our step, and a passion in our hearts. Together here we commit to You that we will proclaim these values to every generation yet to come. Just give us the strength. Amen."

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Social Security is not an "entitlement"

The word "entitlement" suggests that Social Security is some sort of undeserved benefit. It's not. It's an earned benefit and hasn't got one thing to do with the stinking deficit.
The Social Security trust fund is worth 2.6 trillion dollars and in ten years it will be worth over 3.7 trillions dollars. It has the full faith and credit of the United States and the Treasury Notes are solid as a rock. It is able to pay full Social Security benefits for the next 25 years and that could be extended indefinitely by simply make those earning over 250 grand per year pay all year like the rest of workers.
To bring down the deficit, stop starting wars, tax the tax cheating corporations, create good paying jobs, make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share and stop allowing China to manipulate their currency.
This so called "super committee" will be meeting behind closed doors very soon and we should be able to view their negotiations and know how each one of those birds is voting.
We shouldn't tolerate decreasing the deficit on the backs of retirees and seniors. If we do, we all be very, very sorry we allowed it to happen.
Seniors haven't had an increase in their Cost of Living in two years. And now the right wingers are talking about making the formula even worse, In other words, they think zero is way to much of an increase for seniors.
Down with the tea party, they know not what they do.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Alliance for Retired Americans

 Friday Alert, September 2, 2011 edition

As Super Committee Gets Set to Tackle the Nation’s Debt…
According to Politico, Republican members of the deficit-slashing Super Committee are meeting on Capitol Hill to hash out their own strategy ahead of the panel’s first official meetings after Labor Day, preparing for an intense fall push to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit. The committee also named its staff director on Tuesday, choosing Mark Prater, a 20-year veteran of the Senate Finance Committee. Prater is currently the chief tax counsel for Senate Republicans on the panel. The choice of Prater needed to be approved by the two super committee co-chairs, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). The full 12-member Super Committee is required to meet by Sept. 16. A new Kaiser Family Foundation brief examines the potential impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that created the committee; the process it creates for reducing the federal deficit over the next decade; and how it could affect the Medicare program, health plans and providers, and the program’s beneficiaries. The brief is available at http://bit.ly/pWaVYh.

…Sen. Bernie Sanders Moves to Protect Social Security from Budget Slashers
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said last week that he will introduce legislation that would expand the reach of the payroll tax, as part of an effort to give further support to Social Security. According to The Hill, Sanders is proposing to make individual income higher than $250,000 per year subject to the payroll tax — an idea he says he is lifting from President Obama’s 2008 campaign for the White House. As it stands, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security, applies to the first $106,800 of annual income; the Sanders bill would not impose the payroll tax on income between that level and $250,000. In a recent news release, the senator said he was also worried that the new Super Committee tasked with finding additional ways to reduce the deficit will try to find savings through cuts to Social Security. One method that has already been discussed would involve switching to the so-called “chained CPI,” an alternate form of inflation that would lead to a slower increase in Social Security benefits.  “Social Security did not cause federal budget deficits, and should not be part of the Super Committee’s solution to the debt problem,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. According to Sanders’ office, the chief actuary for Social Security says the senator’s proposal to make the payroll tax applicable at higher income levels would create enough new revenue to keep the program solvent for the next 75 years.

Successful Senior Summer!
The Alliance is wrapping up more than 70 actions in more than two dozen states around the country this summer as Labor Day approaches. The events have ranged from celebrating the anniversaries and successes of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to holding presidential candidates accountable as they campaign. Last Friday, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) took his Congressional Series for Seniors to North Providence, Rhode Island, where Alliance State President John Pernorio presented him with a Social Security & Medicare Hero’s Award. On August 24, Missouri Alliance members and their friends gathered outside Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) St. Louis office to demand he not balance the U.S. budget on the backs of children, retirees and the middle class.

This past Wednesday, Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) was a guest speaker at the Florida Alliance's Quarterly Executive Board Meeting in Tampa. In Scottsdale, Arizona on Wednesday, Alliance members rallied outside Rep. David Schweikert's (R) mobile office to show their support for Medicare and Social Security. The next day, Arizona Alliance members attended a listening session with Rep. Schweikert in Fountain Hills, Arizona and joined like-minded organizations for a rally outside Senator and Super Committee member Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) Tucson office.

Social Security Administration Report Makes the Program’s Importance Clear
Social Security is the most significant source of income for Americans age 65 and older, and its importance has continued to grow over time, according to a recent Social Security Administration  (SSA) report. Social Security made up 38% of the total income of people age 65 and older in 2009—up from 30% in 1962—and is the largest of any type of retirement income. According to U.S. News and World Report, “only a fortunate minority” of Americans have significant sources of retirement income other than Social Security. Social Security made up half or more of the retirement income of 66% of Americans age 65 and older in 2009, up from 64% in 2008. And more than a third of retirees (35%) receive 90% or more of their income as a monthly payment from SSA. While Social Security makes up a large share of the typical retiree's income, the amount they are paid is actually fairly small. The average monthly payout to retired workers was $1,176 in 2010. For more statistics and a link to the report itself, go to http://bit.ly/qzOouz.

Texas Alliance President Shane Fox, 1939 - 2011
Shane Fox, president of the Texas Alliance, died on August 25 after a long, courageous battle with cancer. Shane was an integral part of the growth of the Alliance. He served on the national board, first as a community-based representative and then for two years as an appointee of President Easterling. He was also a tireless advocate for the development of the Texas Alliance and served on both the communications committee and a futures committee that completed its work this past June. “I have been privileged to know and work with Shane for the past 8 years.  He was a dedicated activist who earned the respect and love of everyone he touched,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “In keeping with his endless enthusiasm for the advocacy work he loved, he has asked that contributions in his memory be sent to the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans.”

Alliance’s Legislative Conference Comes as Super Committee Begins its Work
Be sure to join us at the Alliance’s 10th anniversary Legislative Conference, Celebrating Our Past, Fighting for Your Future, on September 6-9, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) has been added as a speaker. Other confirmed speakers include: Grammy winning singer and social activist Judy Collins; U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); U.S. Rep. and Super Committee member Xavier Becerra (D-CA). To see more speakers, to register, or if you have any questions, please call Event Coordinator Joni Jones at 202-637-5377 or e-mail jjones@retiredamericans.org. On the web, visit http://bit.ly/pjVbXy or http://bit.ly/hQro1V. “Alliance members will be coming into town at a crucial time for protecting Social Security and Medicare – just as the Super Committee work kicks off,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.