27 September 2010

Alliance for Retired Americans: GOP "Pledge" Leaves Seniors with Unanswered Questions

Last Thursday (9/23/10) Ed Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans joined U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Nancy Altman of Social Security Works in a telephone press conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee.  Here are his prepared remarks:

"My name is Ed Coyle.  I am the Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a grassroots advocacy organization with over 4 million members and 1500 local chapters.

The Pledge to America provides few specifics for voters concerned about Social Security and Medicare. Seniors need more than buzzwords and bromides to pay their bills, see a doctor, or fill a prescription.

Conspicuously absent from today’s plan are both aspiring-Speaker John Boehner’s pledge to increase the Social Security retirement age to 70, and also the “Roadmap” of the Budget Committee’s Paul Ryan which would let Wall Street run a privatized Social Security and end Medicare as we know it.

And speaking of the Young Guns, they have nothing to worry about.  For example, in 2037, when Social Security will still be making all payments in full even if nothing is done, today’s Young Guns will be anything but young.  Paul Ryan will be 67, Kevin McCarthy will be 72, and Eric Cantor will be 74.  By the way, John Boehner will be 89… and there will still be no crisis in Social Security.

Voters need to move beyond today’s p.r. stunt and press their local GOP candidates for greater detail on Social Security: 

  • Do they support raising the retirement age? 
  • Would they cut benefits? 
  • Would they privatize Social Security and tie it to the uncertainty and greed on Wall Street?

Today’s call to ‘repeal and replace’ the new health law leaves seniors wondering:

  • What would happen to closing Medicare’s “doughnut hole” coverage gap? 
  • Would the Republicans stop payment on the over 1 million rebate checks that help seniors better afford their prescriptions drugs? 
  • Are they opposed to the new law’s free tests and screenings for life-threatening diseases? 
  • Would they repeal new long-term care insurance for middle-class families? 
  • How would they replace the new financial assistance that helps early retirees with health coverage?

Many seniors are struggling to get by, and workers of all ages are wondering when, if ever, they will get to retire. Current and future retirees have every right to demand the whole truth out of candidates for office this year.

I am confident that over the next six weeks – as voters see through all this hype and show business – they will learn the truth about the Pledge to America and they will see quite clearly which candidates are on their side and which ones are not.

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