Saturday, July 21, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 7-20-12

Biden Reaffirms Administration Commitment to Retirees
On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden called out GOP leaders for having “different values” when it comes to critical issues such as Social Security, health care, and Medicare at the White House Community Leaders briefing on senior issues.  Biden pointed to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the Republican House Budget, saying that the GOP would sacrifice the interests and well-being of seniors for the sake of tax cuts.  Missouri Alliance Organizer Judith Parker joined fellow Alliance members at the White House and also spoke, giving examples of the Obama administration’s record of support for seniors. For a photo from the event, go to http://bit.ly/Mdy8Ao.

“We stand with the Vice President and Judith against the GOP assault on retirees, which embraces privatizing Medicare and cutting Social Security benefits,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Let’s not be the Last Generation to Retire Campaign Heats up as Temperatures Rise
More than 40 events are scheduled for the Alliance’s “Let’s not be the Last Generation to Retire” campaign this summer, which includes celebrations of the anniversaries of Medicare and Medicaid (July 30) and Social Security (August 14). The events simultaneously serve the purpose of conveying to the public and Members of Congress how crucial these programs are to seniors, and they express the Alliance’s opposition to benefit cuts. To find an event near you, go to http://www.bit.ly/OIXw0C.

As part of this effort, activists are sending Letters to the Editor of their local papers on those themes. If you write a letter that is published, the Alliance will send you a free, union-made “Retirees with the Write Stuff” pen. Most recently, Adolphe Bernotas, Mark Boston, Luis Duran, Earl Frampton, Barbara Franklin, Tony Fransetta, Dave Jones, Earline Jones, Dick Kern, Gene Lantz, Anne Loeffler, Diana Mackey, Dave Meinell, Charlie Williams, and Warren Wish have contributed to their local papers. If you have had a letter published, please e-mail aracommunications@retiredamericans.org.

Sen. Tom Harkin Talks to Alliance Activists about the Rebuild America Act
On Thursday, over 100 Alliance activists from across the country dialed in to speak with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) about Social Security and pensions. The Senator took questions and spoke about his top legislative priority: the Rebuild America Act (S. 2252). The Rebuild America Act includes a number of provisions that strengthen Social Security by improving the solvency of the Social Security Trust Funds and, at the same time, improving the benefit calculations and annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for all Social Security programs.

“Not only can we not cut Social Security, we have to increase Social Security benefits,” the Senator said. For more on the Rebuild America Act, go to http://bit.ly/MJ556X.

Pennsylvania Alliance Joins Lawsuit against State’s Voter ID Law
The Pennsylvania Alliance has joined with other retiree advocacy groups to file an amicus brief in the case of Viviette Applewhite, et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The lawsuit seeks to find Act 18 of 2012 - which requires photo identification at the polls - unconstitutional on the grounds that it unduly affects senior citizens and prevents them from voting.  The brief states that the law alienates older Pennsylvanians from their constitutional right to have their voice heard at the ballot box, as the burden placed on some is insurmountable.  Other groups included in the brief include the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the Pennsylvania Homecare Association.

Pennsylvania Alliance President Jean Friday said, “This is a strong step to defend the suffrage of older Pennsylvanians.  Act 18 of 2012 disproportionately affects seniors, and must be deemed unconstitutional before the November elections.”

Coalition Urges Tax Increases, Benefit Cuts under Simpson-Bowles
According to The Washington Post, a group of businessmen, former politicians, and budget experts has launched a $25 million campaign to gain support for a far-reaching deficit-reduction plan that includes slashing retirement benefits. They hope to raise more money through a simplified tax code and spend less on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Called simply “Fix the Debt,” the campaign was started by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, whose deficit reduction plan met opposition from the White House and was never officially backed in Congress. For more details, go to http://wapo.st/NUlXut.

“Once again, the Simpson-Bowles plan is rearing its ugly head to balance the budget on the backs of retirees,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.  For more, read the Alliance fact sheet about benefit-slashing budget plans at http://bit.ly/M7vtad, and share it with others!

AFL-CIO: Romney is “Mr. 1%”
The AFL-CIO has unveiled a new website to draw voters’ attention to Mitt Romney’s proposals that hurt working families and retirees.  Called, “Meet Mitt Romney: Mr. 1%” and available at http://bit.ly/Oa7bhF,  the site urges Americans to see that Romney is planning to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid while padding his own pockets and the bank accounts of the wealthiest 1%.  The site also draws attention to Romney’s shady background in finance, which included laying off thousands of Americans and shipping jobs overseas while making Romney millions.  The presumed Republican nominee has also faced criticism over when he exactly retired from Bain Capital, with campaign spokespeople going so far as to say that he “retroactively retired” in 1999 despite still serving as Bain’s president until 2002.

“To ‘retroactively retire’ is just another trick of 1 percenters like Romney,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “Mitt Romney can sit back and make millions while shipping American jobs overseas, but the rest of us will retire the old-fashioned way, and still need programs like Social Security and Medicare that he wants to cut.”

For a printable version of this document, go to http://bit.ly/NDDCY2.


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