16 August 2010

Social Security Birthday Parties & Rallies - A Great Success!

Last Saturday, August 14th, the 75th Anniversary of the day that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security program into law,  the Alliance For Retired Americans put together over 100 birthday parties and other events to highlight both the occasion and the importance of the program.  For a list of all the activities, go to http://bit.ly/aTIDaP.

Here in Texas we held Birthday rallies in Austin and Dallas.  Over 55 people, young and old, attended the Dallas rally. Other events included those in Tucson, Arizona, where FDR's granddaughter is the special speaker at a lunch, and Rock Hill, South Carolina, where Alliance members will present Rep. John Spratt (D) with a special plaque to thank him for his service, along with a giant card signed by constituents asking him to continue protecting and preserving Social Security. Rep. Spratt will then cut a birthday cake and announce the winner of the raffle for whacking rights to a large "Fat Cat" piƱata.

Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling called into the Social Security-Medicare party in Omaha, Nebraska to address those in attendance. "Retirees have much to be proud of as Social Security turns 75.  It is a true American success story, one that has kept generations of seniors out of poverty, and allowed millions to retire with dignity and peace of mind. But this milestone anniversary is tainted by calls, in the name of deficit reduction, to cut Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Mr. Coyle was referring in part to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who offered another signal a week ago Sunday that his party would favor raising the Social Security retirement age. Asked specifically on NBC's "Meet the Press" if he supports raising the retirement age to, say, 70, Boehner replied, "There are a lot of options on how you solve these (issues), but I don't want to put the cart before the horse." Later during the program, Boehner's deputy, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), said of raising the retirement age, "...for younger Americans, absolutely yes, we ought to bring real reform for the sake of future generations of Americans to get spending under control." For related information, including a link to state reports from the group Strengthen Social Security, with detailed information down to the congressional district level on the impact of Social Security, go to www.strengthensocialsecurity.org/reports.

Raising the Retirement Age, with People Filing for Early Social Security Benefits?
A striking trend is occurring: more people are filing early for their Social Security benefits in response to the weak economy. The Washington Post ( http://bit.ly/aHvTsz ) reported this week that more people filed for Social Security in 2009 (2.74 million) than in any year before. It's not just because of the baby boomers - there is a significant increase in individuals receiving reduced benefits because they filed in advance of their full retirement age.

Noting the trend and referring to the Republican efforts to raise the retirement age, Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks said, "Can you imagine working until 70?  In physically demanding jobs like construction, manufacturing, and the service sector, I just don't see how you can.  And in a tough job market, who would hire someone in their late 60s? Raising the retirement age is a benefit cut - plain and simple. We cannot allow it to be done."

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