Skip to main content

A Warning Sign for Workers and Retirees


Behind Alan Simpson Bluster, A Warning Sign for Workers and Retirees
By Barbara J. Easterling

Behind the shock and awe of Alan Simpson's hate-filled letter to the California chapter of my organization -- he recently wrote that members of the Alliance for Retired Americans were "a wretched group of seniors" and "greedy geezers" -- lies a cautionary tale for workers and retirees: Beware of politicians looking for political cover to cut Social Security.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of Social Security's death have been greatly exaggerated. The little-known truth is that the Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.7 trillion surplus, enough to fully pay all benefits through 2033 and a vast majority through 2086. Mitt Romney and Alan Simpson and others spread these popular myths of gloom and doom to deflect attention away from a major cause of our deficits: unneeded tax breaks for the rich and big corporations.

The December 2010 recommendations of a fiscal commission co-chaired by Simpson continue to greatly influence the Social Security debate. Mitt Romney and GOP congressional leaders want to lower Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age to as high as 70. Romney, like George W. Bush before him, wants to privatize Social Security, putting seniors at risk while Wall Street profits from gambling Social Security savings on the stock market. A more responsible approach is one by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) to significantly strengthen the Social Security Trust Fund by removing a loophole that allows upper-income Americans to avoid paying their fair share in Social Security payroll taxes.

In the debate over Social Security's future, what often gets forgotten is that the average senior on Social Security must get by on just a little over $1000 each month. This stands in stark contrast to the lifestyle of Social Security critics like Simpson and Romney. Simpson, who became a business lobbyist after leaving the Senate, receives a $43,000 annual federal pension. Romney makes more by 6:00 a.m. on January 1 than many retirees do for the entire year. Both of them show a cold insensitivity to the daily needs of struggling seniors.

As a retiree, I am particularly upset by Simpson's repeated portrayal of seniors as selfish. Today's seniors raised children and grandchildren, built strong neighborhoods, and sacrificed for our nation to preserve its freedoms for future generations. Retirees who are fortunate to have economic security and good health want the same for their children and grandchildren when they reach this age.
Before Social Security, many people worked until the day they died. We have come a long way in this country, but we cannot let politicians like Alan Simpson and Mitt Romney turn back the clock on our progress.

Barbara J. Easterling is president of the Alliance for Retired Americans. She was previously the secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America. For more information, visit www.retiredamericans.org or call 1-800-333-7212.

Comments

petterjoe said…
Your writings are very good.Very interesting and informative article. Thanks for sharing.I like to read more article like this.Petter Joe

Popular posts from this blog

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR)

Trump To Cut Social Security

Trump’s Promise Not to Cut Social Security has been Broken by Robert Roach, Jr. President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget is a non-starter. He has betrayed America’s seniors. In fact, $2 trillion in deficit reduction turns out to be just a math error. The budget cuts $72 billion over ten years from disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Trump promised repeatedly to protect – not cut – Social Security. Yet his first budget does just that, harming millions of disabled Americans.  The Trump budget also slashes $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), total Medicaid spending was $368 billion in 2016. Almost two-thirds of that was for seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on Medicaid for health care and long-term care. This cut is drastic and dangerous by any measurement. This budget also decimates the Community Development Block Grant, which pro…

The Ship of Fear

My Destroyer, the U.S.S. Walker, was tied up in Pearl Harbor.

The Newspaper headlines for several days along with lengthy articles told of a merchant ship, "the Pomona" that was tied up in Honolulu waiting for crew to take it to the far east. The Captain had been murdered while at sea and the crew was afraid that the murderer was still aboard. The ship finally got underway again and my memory is that it had rudder problems and had to return to port. Then, after getting underway again it had a fire on board and had to return again.

While on liberty one day in Honolulu, I stopped in at a saloon on my way back to my ship. There, I met a merchant sailor who happened to be a sailor aboard the Pomona. He offered to take me back to the ship and let me come aboard her. We did and headed for the bow of the ship where there was a lot of noise. There sitting on the deck were a number of sailors, mostly drunken, talking about their predicament.

This occurred sometime between 1961 and…