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Showing posts from November, 2013

Scrap The Cap And Any Thought Of A Chained CPI

Starting in 2014, the maximum tax on income for Social Security will be $117,000 per year. That means nothing more is paid into Social Security exceeding this amount. What that means is that the average working person pays the full 6.2% and that the wealthy Wall Street banker type and CEO’s making a million dollars per year are paying less than 1% of their income into Social Security. The higher their income, the less percentage they pay.

To put it another way, a person making a million dollars per year only has to work 15 hours to pay their Social Security tax and the average worker is working all year to pay their Social Security tax. A billionaire pays the same tax in less than a minute. 

Notwithstanding the fact that Social Security is financially sound for the next 20 years or more and does not contribute one cent to the Federal deficit, some are proposing to cut benefits by imposing a new cost of living formula called the “Chained CPI.”

Any long term concerns about Social Sec…

Jack Munro Was A Great Man

Jack Munro was one of my favorite characters. Although I didn't know him really well, he really impressed me with his ability to convince others that his way was the right way. I remember once at an Executive Board Meeting of SOAR (Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees) that he had just recuperated from a serious operation, A triple bypass heart operation I believe. The biggest cost to him was the parking lot of the hospital. You'll see what I mean when I say that you just couldn't help liking Jack Munro.

Union Veterans Alert

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a fraud alert about a marketing scam that is targeting veterans who misdial the VA National Call Center (800-827-1000) or the GI Bill Call Center (888-442-4551) phone numbers.  A marketing company created two phone numbers that differ from the real VA numbers by one digit.  If a veteran misdials and calls the bogus number, the answering party will offer a gift card and try to obtain sensitive personal data, to include credit card information.  Please note that the VA will “never” ask for credit card or banking information over the phone.

The two bogus numbers are 800-872-1000 and 888-442-4511.  Please forward this information to all your members, Posts and friends, and share it on your websites.  The bottom line is make sure you know who you are talking to before providing personal information over the phone.  The VA has notified law enforcement authorities.

For a list of toll-free VA phone numbers, go to the VA’s Inquiry Routing & In…

ARA Friday Alert November 22, 2013

Richard Fiesta is Named Alliance’s Next Executive Director
Richard Fiesta has been named the Alliance for Retired Americans’ new executive director, succeeding Edward F. Coyle, who has managed and grown the 4 million-member grassroots advocacy organization since its 2001 founding. The Alliance’s Executive Board voted unanimously to appoint Fiesta, effective December 1. The director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs for the Alliance since 2001, Fiesta pledged that the Alliance will aggressively educate retirees, the public and lawmakers on ways to preserve and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, make prescription drugs affordable for future generations and ensure that all retirees can expect a dignified retirement after a lifetime of work.
“It is gratifying to see Ed enjoy his own retirement after improving the retirement circumstances of so many others,” said Barbara J. Easterling, president of the Alliance.  “I know that Rich will continue the All…

Where I was on November 22, 1963

The questioned has been asked, “where were you when President Kennedy was killed”. I suppose that most of us that were alive at that time remember where we were on Nov 22, 1963.

I was in the Navy at the time serving on a Destroyer, U.S.S. Walker (DD517). We were on our way back from Vietnam with several other ships. Being a Signalman, I was on the bridge when I received a message by flashing light that the President had been shot. I remember it so well. Not only because of the content of the message but also because it was a “flash” message which was of the highest priority and the only one I ever received.

I suppose, to be on the safe side, our group of ships turned around for a time and headed back to the Western Pacific until more information came in.

Fiesta Named ARA Executive Director

For Immediate Release
November 20, 2013
Contact: David Blank – 202/637-5275 or dblank@retiredamericans.org 


Richard Fiesta Named Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans


Washington, DC – Richard J. Fiesta has been named the Alliance for Retired Americans’ new Executive Director, succeeding Edward F. Coyle, who has managed and grown the four million member grassroots advocacy organization since its 2001 founding.  The Alliance’s Executive Board voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Fiesta, effective December 1, 2013.

Mr. Fiesta, the Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs for the Alliance since 2001, pledged that the organization will aggressively educate retirees, the public, and lawmakers on ways to preserve and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, make prescription drugs affordable for future generations and ensure that all retirees can expect a dignified retirement after a lifetime of work.

“Ed Coyle launched the Alliance for Retired Americans and…

Alliance For Retired Americans Friday Alert, November 15, 2013

Veterans Day Message: “Don’t Cut Veterans’ Benefits” The Alliance continued holding events with coalition partners around Veterans Day this week, drawing attention to the fact that veterans’ benefits would be cut in multiple ways if the chained CPI cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) formula were to be adopted. The chained CPI affects Social Security beneficiaries as well as those who receive veterans’ disability benefits and military pensions. Because of the number of programs that would be subject to the chained CPI, veterans would receive double, triple or more hits. With that in mind, Alliance members held events this week in cities including Waco, Texas; Ankeny, Iowa; St. Louis, MO; and Reading, PA. The events are taking place before a December 13 deadline, when a House-Senate budget conference committee is charged with reaching a 2014 budget compromise. Such a deal could contain a “grand bargain” that would cut seniors’ Social Security and Medicare benefits.

The Waco …

ARA Friday Alert, 11-8-13

Headlines:
Alliance Salutes Veterans All Across the Country;
Ways and Means Committee Misleads on Chained CPI;
Sherrod Brown Co-Sponsors the Strengthening Social Security Act;
Election Day Brings Key Victories in Cincinnati and Virginia;
AFSCME Video Personalizes the Potential Detroit Bankruptcy

Alliance Salutes Veterans All Across the Country
The Alliance and its coalition partners are holding several events around Veterans Day to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces. The events also draw attention to the fact that veterans are affected in multiple ways by the chained CPI cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), a cut to earned benefits. On Thursday, seniors joined veterans at events in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Facebook photos at http://tinyurl.com/ng6dk5h); Appleton, Wisconsin; Champaign, Illinois (video at http://tinyurl.com/pjqebgl); and Dayton, Ohio (story at http://tinyurl.com/qxp6awy). The events are taking place before a December 13 deadline, when a House-Senate …

Union Veterans Speak Out

Please read the following message from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and AFGE President and Union Veterans Council Chair J. David Cox.

On November 11 we celebrate Veteran’s Day, and it’s important to take this opportunity to honor the men and women who have served our nation to protect and defend the liberties and freedoms we all enjoy.

And yet it isn’t enough to speak words like “honor.”

America’s veterans need action, not words.

America’s veterans need a funded and functioning federal government. And veterans need us to protect Social Security, disability benefits and military pensions.

Think of the Vietnam veteran who travels for hours to the nearest VA clinic to get a hearing aid to help compensate for the endless ringing in his ears from a long-ago grenade explosion. To the 22 million veterans in America, the VA is more than “the government.” It’s a vital earned benefit. And when Congress fails to fund the government and closes the VA, it’s people like that Vietnam veteran wh…

More Time Off For Retirees Needed

Change oil in car....check.
Get Shingles shot.....check.
Got a new battery for my wrist watch.......check.
Picked up leaves......check.
Picked gourds.....check.
Roasted coffee....check.
Wrote a letter..........check.
Took a nap................check.
Painted basement floor.....check.

I think maybe we need to negotiate more time off for retirees.

Does NIPSCO Need New Managers and/or Supervisors?

It could be that NIPSCO (Northern Indiana Public Service Company) needs some new managers and/or supervisors, some that aren’t afraid to direct their work force.

I came to wonder this today after someone approached me asking where my gas meter was located. He said he wanted to check for gas leaks. Was he a qualified NIPSCO worker? No, he was a contracted employee with the URG company based in the state of Michigan of all places.

Does NIPSCO have good, qualified workers to do this type of work? Of course they do. So, why would an Indiana company like NIPSCO make the decision to contract out work that their own workers could do? Well, I can only guess and my guess is that the NIPSCO managers and/or supervisors in the gas department at NIPSCO are too darned lazy to see that this work is done properly by their own workers and so they’re  taking the easy way out by just contracting the work out.

I don’t like it. If there might be natural gas leaking onto my property, I would much rather have…

ARA Friday Alert, Nov. 1, 2013

Headlines:
Social Security Benefits to go up just 1.5% in 2014
Tuesday, November 5 is Decision Day in Key Elections, Ballot Initiatives
Conference Committee Holds Meeting in Advance of December 13 Budget Deadline
Groups Act to Close Loopholes that Allow Many Companies to Pay No Taxes
Maryland-DC and Vermont Alliance Chapters Hold Annual Conferences

Social Security Benefits to go up just 1.5% in 2014
Social Security benefits will rise by 1.5% next year, one of the smallest increases ever in the program's annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The increase is down from the 1.7% increase for 2013. There was no COLA increase at all in 2010 and 2011, because prices fell during the recession. A 3.6% adjustment in 2012 has been the only significant rise in benefits in recent years.

Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance, explained the context of the COLA change as it relates to the chained CPI, a formula proposed by some politicians in order to reduce future Social Security COLAs.…