14 January 2010

Alliance for Retired Americans Opposes New Plot to Privatize Social Security

Just over a month ago, I wrote warning of a right-wing stealth attempt to slip into the health care reform package, without floor debate, legislation which would reintroduce Social Security privatization and Medicare curtailments.

Well folks, while we've been fighting for an equitable final health care bill, the dementers and death eaters from the right and so-called "center" have been busily advancing their cause under the aegis of the misleadingly titled group; the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Action Act of 2009 S.2853.

Yesterday, the four-million member Alliance for Retired Americans issued and delivered to the Senate their letter of opposition:

"...We oppose attempts to attach it to debt ceiling or any other legislation. We cannot support the bill's fast-track means of implementing vast changes to programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid outside the regular legislative process.

Under the legislation, jurisdiction for major and long-term changes to programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid would be turned over to an 18-member task force, made up of 16 members of Congress and 2 administration officials. Regardless the expertise of task force members, their recommendations would be crafted behind closed doors and subject to fast-track up or down vote by Congress. Forcing changes to these critical benefit programs by eliminating open debate or amendments is an undemocratic way to address the future of such programs.

Since their creation, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have worked well to keep millions of America's seniors healthy and out of poverty. Social Security has been the bedrock of income security for nearly all Americans, providing guaranteed benefits to retirees, those with disabilities, and the survivors of retired and deceased workers. Likewise Medicare and Medicaid has helped our nation deliver the promise of well-being and improved quality of life for retirees.

Currently, congressional committees of jurisdiction consider changes and improvements to these vital programs with the opportunity for due consideration and debate. These committees, with their broad-based and detailed knowledge of the programs under their jurisdiction, are the proper forums for considering any changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We strongly caution against a process that would bypass the regular legislative process in favor of an expedited, fast-track process that leaves room for little accountability and almost no room for input from the American people.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is committed to enacting legislation that improves the quality of life for retirees and all Americans..."

The letter was signed by Alliance President, Barbara Easterling, Secretary-Treasurer, Ruben Burks, and Executive Director, Edward F. Coyle, and dated January 13,2010

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