Saturday, December 31, 2016

Solidarity Now More Than Ever

Billy’s Banter
Solidarity Now More Than Ever

I want to start by thanking all those who got involved in this year’s election. You have proven that we still can contribute and are willing to remain involved and be a valuable source of information and activism.

We must now unite and become even more vigilant in making sure that those in office not destroy the benefits we have worked so hard for over the years. I tend to believe what people say, until their actions cause me to believe otherwise and I fear some people will do just what they say.

Speaker Ryan’s plan to eliminate Medicare’s guaranteed health benefits in favor of a system of vouchers is outlined in his “A Better Way,” a document that promises cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Seniors would have to use government vouchers or coupons and buy insurance on the private market.” I do not believe this is in our best interest nor do I believe that the person chosen to lead the discussion on Social Security is going to support status quo or improvements, if I can believe what he has said in the past about this issue. 

The retired lobbyist President-elect Trump has named to lead his Social Security transition team is Michael Korbey, he has tried to eliminate or cut Social Security for decades. Back in 1996 he said of Social Security: “It's a failed system, broken and bankrupt” and that although cuts would hurt seniors, “the government needed to focus on other constituents.” 

During George W. Bush’s administration, Korbey was a senior advisor to the Social Security Administration and helped spearhead Bush’s effort to privatize Social Security. 

I hope I am losing sleep over nothing but I believe we will be better off if we get prepared for a fight and do not have it, than be un-prepared and play catch up on these very important issues. If we choose not to be involved, who will pick up the fight for us? We cannot stand divided we must unite on these important issues if we hope to retain our dignity in retirement. We need to maintain and improve existing benefits. Please let your Representatives know that you do not want vouchers or reduced SS for yourself or future retirees. Let us start now.

Bill Pienta, SOAR President



Friday, December 30, 2016

From the Director’s Desk -  Reflections


The election is now over and the people have spoken. For those of us who advocate on behalf of retirees and the working class, we know the weeks, months and years ahead will not be easy; but we will get through them together and we will come out stronger together, just as we have done in past.


Today, we rededicate ourselves to our role as activists and recommit ourselves to mobilizing our members and like-minded fellow Americans to protect and defend what was won in the halls of congress and in our collective bargaining agreements.   


We knew this was an election about change and a revolt against the political elite. It was a revolt against what those in power in both parties have done or accepted; global trade and tax deals for corporations; Wall Street bailouts; big-money politics and decades of promises not kept. After neglecting the working class for decades, that class, working folks, abandoned the Democratic Party that once represented them, said enough is enough and voted for what they thought was real change.


Time will tell if this election will truly make a difference. 


However, in the meantime, I am scared out of my wits of the agenda of the far right now in power in the House, Senate and the White House. What will happen to Social Security and Medicare? We all know these two critical programs that mean so much to retirees have been in their crosshairs for years. 


There is already talk of turning Medicare, one of our government’s most successful programs into a voucher program. There is talk once again about privatizing Social Security, which in its present form has kept so many retirees from living in poverty. Changes to these two very successful programs could very well destroy the quality of life of older Americans and place retirement for the next generation out of reach.  


We must be steadfast in our diligence and pay close attention to what is going on in Washington. We must be prepared to fight to protect what is ours! Social Security and Medicare are earned benefits not entitlements, as the Washington elite would like you to believe. 


The battle continues…..


Jim Centner, SOAR Director

The plain old fashioned lie

When you hear a congressperson say that he/she will never vote to cut Social Security benefits for our "seniors," what that really means is that this particular politician would indeed be willing to cut Social Security benefits for those who will some day be "seniors."

In other words, it's just a plain old fashioned lie. Don't be fooled.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What is an idealist?

That's a man who notices that a rose smells better than a cabbage, so he thinks the rose will make better soup.

-From Spencerville by Nelson DeMille

Monday, December 12, 2016

51st Wedding Anniversary

 It was 51 years ago today that I married Elaine Adams. We got hitched at the City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana on December 11th, 1965 with a dinner afterwards at the Hotel Gary.

When I think of how long I’ve known Elaine, I really do have to think about it. Let’s see…I met her in 7th grade. We were in the same home-room together. Home-rooms were the first period of the class day and were made up of students according to alphabetical last names.
I remember so well how pretty I thought she was. Although I had my eye on her, she wouldn’t give me the time of day. As a matter of fact, she teased me. She sat a few seats in front of me and I do remember our eyes meeting once and she just batted them at me. I couldn’t let anyone know I was interested in her because I was on the football team, and we weren’t really supposed to be very interested in girls. Most of the gals dated Freshman boys anyway.


It wasn’t until we were Juniors that we began dating. It was in August at the beginning of football season. After practice one day, she and a friend of mine who lived across the street from me and his girlfriend stopped in front of the house and honked their horn. I went out to see who it was and we ended up going to Lo-Jacks drive-in for a rum coke which were very popular in those days. 

The very next evening, they stopped by again honking their horn. We did the rum coke thing again and then parked in his drive way. I remember Elaine planted a kiss on me so hard it hurt my lip. Well, a few more similar evenings put me madly in love. I recall soon after telling her that I was going to marry her some day. We dated off and on our senior year, and after graduation in 1961, I went into the Navy and Elaine became a hair dresser. I was stationed in Pearl Harbor and came home two times for a month at a time.


I got out of the Navy in August 1965 and we set the wedding date for December 11. So, I think we’ve known each other since about 1956 which would make it about 60 years. Today will be very special for us both.


Elaine and I wish all of you a Happy Anniversary, whenever it may be, and have a joyful and safe Christmas and New Year's.