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Social Security And Medicare Report Shows We Need To Rein In Pharmaceutical Costs

2016 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports Highlight Need to Expand Social Security and Rein in Out of Control Pharmaceutical Corporations

Today the Social Security and Medicare Trustees released their annual report. The report showed some things we already knew, the Social Security trust fund is holding steady and will continue to pay full benefits for almost 20 more years.  They also showed that big pharma is fleecing Americans with out of control prescription drug prices.

“Both Social Security and Medicare face long-term financing shortfalls under currently scheduled benefits and financing. Lawmakers have a broad continuum of policy options that would close or reduce the long-term financing shortfall of both programs,” wrote the Social Security Administration. “The Trustees recommend that lawmakers take action sooner rather than later to address these shortfalls, so that a broader range of solutions can be considered and more time will be available to phase in changes while giving the public adequate time to prepare. Earlier action will also help elected officials minimize adverse impacts on vulnerable populations, including lower-income workers and people already dependent on program benefits.”

Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, issued the following statement:

 “The Social Security Trustees reaffirmed that Social Security can pay full benefits until 2034. After that, it can pay three-quarters of benefits. This is unchanged from last year’s report.

“The Medicare Trust Fund for hospital care has sufficient funds to cover its obligations until 2028, two years sooner than projected last year.

“The message we must take is that it’s time to expand Social Security. There are several bills already pending in Congress that would expand Social Security benefits and adopt a more accurate formula for determining cost-of -living increases. Economists, public opinion surveys and our members’ own experiences all indicate that Social Security benefits are becoming a larger portion of Americans’ retirement income. The minimum benefit will need to be increased to keep most retirees out of poverty.

“We can also significantly strengthen Medicare by tackling skyrocketing prescription drug prices, which are increasing at more than twice the rate of inflation. Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $103 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013. We need to stop the profiteering and monopolistic behavior by pharmaceutical corporations to save both retirees’ and the taxpayers’ money.

“Nothing in today’s reports justifies Paul Ryan and the Republican Congressional leadership’s stated goal of cutting Social Security or Medicare by privatizing the systems or raising the retirement or eligibility age.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka took the opportunity to show that Hillary Clinton is “committed to strengthening Social Security,” while Donald Trump “can’t be trusted to protect” Social Security and other programs.

Today’s reports provide reassuring news for retired and disabled workers, their families and all Americans working toward a secure retirement. But fully funding Social Security’s modest benefits into the indefinite future in the face of a growing retirement income crisis is not enough; and the Medicare report establishes the precipitous growth of prescription drug prices as a major driver of healthcare costs. These represent some of the most important issues at stake for working people in this election.

Hillary Clinton is committed to strengthening and expanding vital programs working people rely on while Donald Trump can’t be trusted to protect them. We will stand with leaders like Hillary Clinton so together we control the cost of prescription drugs and improve benefits to ensure that future generations get the retirement security they need and deserve.

Progressives Rejoice As Obama Announces Support For Expanding Social Security

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Official White House File Photo by Pete Souza)

Progressives are celebrating a huge win this week as President Obama announced his support for expanding Social Security as part of a larger economic agenda.

 

“To me, if we raise the minimum wage; if we make it easier, not harder, for people to unionize; if we negotiate trade deals that raise labor standards and environmental standards in other countries, instead of letting them sell here and we can’t sell there; if we make sure that we’re rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our infrastructure to put a bunch of folks in hardhats back to work; if we make Social Security stronger rather than cutting it — if we do those things, then we are going to see wages go up, labor markets tighten, and we will relieve a lot of the stress that people feel,” said President Obama at a town hall discussion in Elkhart, Indiana on June 2nd.

This is a complete change in direction for Obama as it was only a few years ago that he was willing to make cuts to Social Security as part of his “Grand Bargain” with Republicans.

“Progressives led, they people spoke out, and the politicians are now embracing change we can believe in: Expanding Social Security benefits — never cutting them,” said Adam Green & Stephanie Taylor, Co-Founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “This will be a defining issue in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and congressional candidates across the nation are for expanding benefits to keep up with the rising costs faced by our grandparents and veterans. Donald Trump and Republicans oppose increased benefits, and many support cuts.”

“I applaud President Obama for joining the growing movement in the Democratic Party to expand Social Security — for today’s seniors, workers, persons with severe disabilities, and for generations to come,” said Eric Kingson, Co-Founder of Social Security Works. “With two-thirds of today’s working persons, especially those in their late 40s and 50s, facing a personal retirement income crisis, yes, it’s time to expand benefits. With the Social Security benefits for today’s seniors averaging just $14,000, today’s older Americans need benefit increases, and they need fairer cost-of-living adjustments. With the United States being one of only three nations that do not provide paid maternity benefits at birth or adoption, it’s long past time to add up to 12 weeks paid family and sick leave to our Social Security.”

“The Alliance for Retired Americans welcomes President Obama’s statement in favor of expanding earned Social Security benefits,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “The Alliance advocated the expansion of Social Security benefits for years and we are pleased that the President agrees with us.”

“Forty percent of Americans over the age of 50 say that Social Security will be their primary source of retirement income, and the current level of benefits is not keeping pace. It’s time for Congress to pass one of the many bills that has already been introduced to make a more secure retirement for current and future retirees,” added Fiesta.

Progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren have tirelessly been taking the floor of the Senate to talk about how we need to do more to help our nation’s seniors.

“After a lifetime of work, people deserve to retire in dignity. Two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income, and for 15 million seniors — 15 MILLION — Social Security is the only thing standing between them and poverty,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “I’m proud that President Obama spoke out Wednesday about protecting and expanding Social Security for millions of people who are struggling to get by.”

“For me, this is about whose side you stand on. We have a growing retirement crisis in this country. Democrats recognize that. The President supports expanding Social Security. Nearly every Senate Democrat voted for my budget amendment in support of expanding Social Security. Both Democratic Presidential candidates support expanding Social Security. And the vast majority of Americans support expanding Social Security. Republicans may still be living in the Stone Age of trying to cut benefits, but on Social Security, the American people stand with President Obama and the Democrats to take on the retirement crisis,” added Warren.

As Sen. Warren alluded to, the battle over Social Security is a defining issue in the Presidential election.

In typical Donald Trump fashion, Trump says he is going to save Social Security, and the millions of seniors who rely on it, by not doing anything.

“I will do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is,” Trump said at a campaign event in Miami, Florida (3-10-16).

Trump also claims that Social Security is full of fraud, waste and abuse.

“Waste, fraud and abuse is massive in Social Security and Medicaid,” Trump told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. In the same interview Trump attacked Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders for wanting to increase Social Security.

The Democratic candidates strongly support expanding Social Security and the Presidents new initiative.

Secretary Clinton tweeted out her support for expanding Social Security saying, “We can never let Republicans cut or privatize Social Security — we should protect and expand it. Thanks, @POTUS.”

 

Before campaigning for President, Senator Bernie Sanders was one of the loudest voices in the fight to expand Social Security.

“Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Before it was signed into law, nearly half of senior citizens lived in poverty,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “Today, the elderly poverty rate is 10 percent. Although still much too high, that’s a dramatic improvement.”

“I applaud President Obama for making it clear that it is time to expand Social Security benefits. Millions of seniors, disabled veterans and people with disabilities are falling further and further behind on $10,000 or $11,000 a year Social Security,” added Sanders.

Senators Warren and Sanders, along with Rep Keith Ellison (MN-5) and Rep Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have been asking Congress to “scrap the cap” on Social Security.

“We thank President Obama for speaking up on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities by calling for an expansion of Social Security benefits,” said Rep Keith Ellison and Rep Raul Grijalva. “So many Americans rely on these vital, earned benefits that they have secured through a lifetime of hard work. Still, too many seniors struggle to make ends meet. Expanding benefits and scrapping the payroll tax cap, which prevents the wealthy from paying their fair share, is the responsible way to ensure full Social Security solvency in the long-term while protecting today’s seniors.”

“We applaud the president for reaffirming the importance of Social Security, and we believe his statement shows just how important the progressive movement is in shaping the policies that will drive our country forward,” added Ellison and Grijalva.

It has become painfully obvious to many people that Social Security benefits have not kept up with the needs of seniors. New Hampshire Executive Councilor, and Gubernatorial candidate, Colin Van Ostern, explains how critical Social Security is to New Hampshire seniors.

“I applaud President Obama in his call to expand Social Security for hardworking Americans,” said Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. “Here in New Hampshire one in five residents collect Social Security and without this critical program, nearly half of those individuals 65 years or older would have incomes below the poverty level. After years of too many calling to cut Social Security, this is a welcomed direction. Issues like this, and access to debt-free college are the path to a stronger future where everyone has a chance to succeed, not just those at the top.”

Expanding Social Security is a direct infusion to our local economies as seniors spend the majority of their Social Security check in their communities. Even though Social Security was designed to provide assistance to seniors as they retire, many now fully depend on Social Security as their sole source of income.

As part of expanding Social Security we should continue to push for higher payouts to seniors and to eliminate the payroll tax cap. We can add additional strength to the Social Security trust fund by increasing the minimum wage. By raising the minimum wage, workers would earn more in their paycheck and pay more in to the Social Security trust fund. Ultimately raising the minimum wage would provide higher payouts to workers 30-40 years from now when they retire as Social Security payouts are based on quarterly income rates.

Expanding Social Security is the only way to ensure that more seniors do not slip into poverty and can retire with the dignity and respect they deserve after a lifetime of hard work.

Huff Post: “Hillary Clinton refuses to rule out any and all benefit cuts to Social Security”

PCCC: “It is an absolute must for a Democratic nominee who claims to be progressive to take Social Security cuts off the table.”

PCCC & Social Security Works Launch Online Ad Buy in NH

Today, after Sec. Hillary Clinton’s campaign made clear for the first time that she will not commit to never cut Social Security, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Social Security Works have launched an online ad buy in New Hampshire to increase pressure on Clinton to make that explicit promise before Tuesday’s primary.

Minutes ago, the Clinton campaign told the Huffington Post, “She has no plans to cut benefits.” The Huffington Post accurately reported, “Hillary Clinton refuses to rule out any and all benefit cuts to Social Security.”

The PCCC and Social Security Works in response announced an online ad buy statewide across New Hampshire today. The Facebook and Google ads will target likely Democratic voters, including Clinton’s supporters.

Stephanie Taylor, Co-founder of the PCCC issued the following statement:

“Hillary Clinton says she has ‘no plans’ to cut Social Security — but George W. Bush had ‘no plans’ to invade Iraq. That is not a promise, and our grandparents and veterans need a promise.

“It is an absolute must for a Democratic nominee who claims to be progressive to say clearly and unequivocally that they will never cut Social Security benefits. Bernie Sanders has made that commitment. Hillary Clinton should make that commitment before the New Hampshire primary so Democrats can focus on expanding benefits.”

Statement from Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works:

“The American people stand united against cuts to Social Security benefits, all Americans. Ninety-four percent of Americans stand against benefit cuts. We need Hillary Clinton to promise to never cut Social Security benefits, no cuts, no buts, now or ever.”

Neither group has endorsed a candidate for president.

Facts on Social Security:

  • Two thirds of American seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income.
  • The average benefit received by women in 2014 was $13,016—just $1,346 over the federal poverty limit for an individual.
  • The average Social Security benefit is just $16,092 a year, less for African Americans and Latinos. This barely clears the poverty line.
  • 94% of Americans oppose cuts to Social Security, and vast majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans support expansion.

hrc-social-security-google-ad

See all the ads

Thousands of people have also signed a petition in the last 24 hours calling on Sec. Clinton to promise never to cut Social Security: ExpandSocialSecurity.org.

See the initial challenge to Sec. Clinton by PCCC on Fox & Friends Feb 2nd

 

 

Watch Out! Now Marco Rubio Is Coming For Your Social Security Too

Cutting Social Security would push millions of seniors into poverty.

The Republican presidential candidates claiming that we need to cut the Social Security and make Medicare a voucher program, giving more money to private insurance companies who are already raking Americans over the coals for coverage, just added another member.

Yesterday in Henniker, Marco Rubio said he wants to cut Social Security and privatize Medicare. 

Watch the video by clicking here.

We’ve been down this road before. Jeb Bush, in Manchester, said that he’d “phase out” Medicare, while John Kasich wanted to cut Social Security and once told a voter that “you’d get over” the cuts. Marco Rubio is just following the GOP tune of cutting Social Security benefits that over 200,000 Granite Staters currently depend on.

Social Security is not going bankrupt as Rubio and other talking heads claim.

Currently the Social Security Trust Fund holds a $2.7 trillion dollar surplus and is fully funded for the next 20 years. After those 20 years Social Security will continue to pay out at 77% of the current benefit rate for eternity.

By law Social Security cannot add anything to our national debt and is fully paid for by payroll taxes. Because Social Security is funded through payroll taxes if workers wages were to rise – say by raising the minimum wage – then more money would be invested in the program strengthening the system.

Social Security is an earned benefit that we have been paying for since the day we entered the workforce.

 

“Democrats believe that Social Security is a pledge to our seniors, but Marco Rubio and Republicans want to make it harder for those who have worked their entire lives to get what was promised to them,” said Lizzy Price, New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director. “Granite Staters deserve someone willing to fight to keep their benefits, not claim that Social Security and Medicare have ‘weakened us as a people.’”

Cutting Social Security will push millions of seniors who are currently living on the edge of poverty over that edge.  In 2013, over 63 million people collected their earned benefit from Social Security with a national average of about $14,000 dollars a year.

For too many, Social Security is the only thing they have to live on. The sad fact is that 1 in 3 seniors collecting Social Security rely on their Social Security check for 90% or more of their monthly income.

The two leading Democrats in the presidential primary have plans to ensure that seniors will be protected now and for future generations to come.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to protect Social Security and Medicare from any Republican privatization scheme.

“I will also defend Social Security and Medicare from the efforts of the Republicans to privatize both of them….As your president, I will defend it. I will not let anybody think that they can privatize it. But we’re going to have to make sure that we shore it up so that it is there not just for those who are currently recipients but for generations to come.”

Senator Sanders also wants to strengthen Social Security and increase benefits by lifting the cap on the payroll taxes that fund it.

“By lifting this cap so that everyone who makes over $250,000 a year pays the same percentage of their income into Social Security as the middle class and working families. This would not only extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years, but also bring in enough revenue to expand benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments; and lift more seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income seniors.”

Eliminating Social Security will push many seniors into poverty and allow politicians like Rubio, Bush and Kasich to steal the trillions of dollars in our hard earned money under the guise of reform.

We must not let them take our hard earned benefit away.

 

(Featured image by Gage Skidmore)

Sanders Asks Clinton To Support “Scrap The Cap” On Social Security

Sanders Also Releases a New Television Ad in Iowa, New Hampshire

 Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday urged Hillary Clinton to back a plan endorsed by leading Democrats and seniors’ advocates to strengthen Social Security.

Sanders has introduced legislation to make the wealthiest Americans who make more than $250,000 a year pay the same share of their income into the retirement system as everyone else. Current law now caps the amount of income subject to payroll taxes at $118,500.

Sanders’ plan is patterned after a proposal to scrap the cap first brought forward by President Barack Obama in 2008. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada in the last session of Congress was a cosponsor of Sanders’ legislation to scrap the cap on the payroll tax.

“I hope Hillary Clinton joins us because I believe that we’ve got to stand with seniors,” Sanders said. “We need not only to extend social security benefits, we need to expand them,” he added.

Social Security is the subject of a new television ad being released on Wednesday to stations in Iowa and New Hampshire, where polls show Sanders gaining ground or leading Clinton. “I hope we can keep this campaign focused on the important issues facing our country including the economic security of seniors and disabled veterans.”

Pressed repeatedly, Clinton has stopped short of endorsing the proposal. She also has left open the possibility that she would support raising the retirement age at which seniors become eligible for Social Security. “I would consider it,” she told a town meeting in New Hampshire last Oct. 28.

Under Sanders’ plan, a senior making less than $16,000 a year would see income go up by more than $1,300. On average, Social Security benefits would go up by an average of $65 a month.

The measure also would increase cost-of-living adjustments. This year, for only the third time in 40 years, seniors on Social Security are not receiving a cost-of-living increase. Sanders’ legislation would increase COLAs by accurately measuring the spending patterns of seniors. Under current law, the consumer price index used to calculate annual benefit adjustments does not accurately reflect how inflation in health care costs and prescription drug prices impact seniors.

The proposal to lift the cap would raise taxes only on the wealthiest 1.5 percent of Americans.

Strengthen Social Security, Rein in Drug Prices, Bernie Sanders Tells Iowa Seniors

social securty 1NEWTON, Iowa – Meeting on Saturday with Iowa seniors, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton to support his proposal to boost Social Security benefits and strengthen the retirement program for decades to come.

Under Sanders’ plan, the wealthiest Americans who make more than $250,000 a year would pay the same share of their income into Social Security as everyone else. Current law now caps the amount of income subject to payroll taxes at $118,500.

“I hope that Hillary Clinton joins me because I believe that we’ve got to stand with seniors,” Sanders told the crowd of 160 at the Jasper County Community Center. Clinton has said raising the cap is “something we should look at” but she has stopped short of endorsing the proposal. She also has left open the possibility that she would support raising the retirement age at which seniors become eligible for Social Security. “I would consider it,” she told a town meeting in New Hampshire last Oct. 28.

Sanders’ proposal to lift the cap would raise taxes only on the wealthiest 1.5 percent of Americans. The new revenue would expand Social Security benefits by an average of $65 a month, increase cost-of-living adjustments and lift seniors out of poverty by boosting benefits for low-income beneficiaries.

For only the third time in 40 years, seniors on Social Security this year are not receiving a cost-of-living increase. Sanders’ legislation would increase COLAs by accurately measuring the spending patterns of seniors. Under current law, the consumer price index used to calculate annual benefit adjustments does not accurately reflect how inflation in health care costs and prescription drug prices impact seniors.

More than 616,000 people in Iowa – nearly 20 percent of the population – receive about $9 billion annually through Social Security. The benefits go to more than 430,000 seniors, 78,000 people with disabilities and more than 38,000 Iowa children.

Sanders also detailed plans to lower prescription drug prices, which soared more than 12 percent in 2014, the biggest jump in a decade. He has introduced a bill in the Senate authorizing the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland introduced a companion bill in the House. The measures also would make it legal to import less expensive drugs from Canada and other countries.

In NH, Bernie Sanders Advocates For Expanding Social Security

DOVER, N.H. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders told seniors at a community center here on Tuesday that more than half of workers nearing retirement have no savings so protecting Social Security is a top priority. He also called for reining in runaway prescription drug prices and stopping cuts to Medicare.

“Millions of seniors including many in New Hampshire and Vermont are struggling just to keep their heads above water,” Sanders told the crowd of 150 people, mostly seniors. “Not only will I oppose any efforts to cut Social Security benefits. What we are going to do is expand Social Security benefits.”Social Security is a key source of income for 42,000 people in New Hampshire whose benefits last year averaged about $15,000. Without Social Security, more than 41 percent of the elderly in New Hampshire would be living in poverty. With Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in New Hampshire is 5.7 percent.

Under current law, the payroll taxes which fund the retirement program are capped at $118,500. Under Sanders’ proposal, the wealthiest Americans who make more than $250,000 annually would pay the same share of their income as everyone else. Lifting the payroll tax cap would only raise taxes on the wealthiest 1.5 percent of Americans. The new revenue would expand Social Security benefits by an average of $65 a month, increase cost-of-living adjustments and boost benefits for low-income beneficiaries.

“Senior citizens with an income of less than $16,000 would see their benefits go up by more than $1,300 a year. Very low-income seniors who put in a lifetime of work would see their benefits go up even more,” Sanders said.

On prescription drugs, Sanders has introduced legislation to rein in prices that jumped more than 12 percent last year, the highest in a decade. “Americans should not have to live in fear that they will go bankrupt if they get sick. People should not have to go without the medication they need just because their elected officials aren’t willing to challenge the drug and health care lobby,” Sanders said.

He noted that the pharmaceutical industry spent nearly $230 million on lobbying last year and employed more than 1,400 registered lobbyists.

Legislation by Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland would authorize the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Their bills also would stiffen penalties for drug companies that commit fraud and lower barriers to the importation of less expensive drugs from Canada and other countries.

Sanders has fought Republican efforts to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program. “Instead of cutting Medicare, instead of privatizing Medicare, instead of limiting the number of Americans who qualify for Medicare, we must join every other major nation on earth in recognizing that health care is a right, not a privilege and that right should be guaranteed to all, regardless of gender, income, age, or race,” said Sanders, the Democrats’ leader on the Senate Budget Committee.

In South Carolina, Sanders Makes Case for Family Leave, Social Security

ST. HELENA ISLAND, S.C. – Speaking to 600 people packed inside the Penn Center’s Darrah Hall, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday called for paid family leave for new parents and expanded benefits for seniors who rely on Social Security.

Sanders is one of 19 Senate co-sponsors of the Family and Medical Leave Act introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Rep. Rosa DeLauro is the chief sponsor of a companion bill with 112 co-sponsors in the House.

Under both measures, workers would be entitled to three months of paid leave to care for a newborn child. The legislation also calls for a small payroll tax totaling $1.38 a week for a typical worker.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does not support Gillibrand’s bill, aides have said. Sanders urged all presidential candidates to join him in supporting the legislation.

The senator from Vermont also called on other White House hopefuls to join him in supporting a boost in benefits for retirees and the disabled.

With Social Security recipients facing a coming year with no cost-of-living adjustment for inflation, Sanders’ Social Security Expansion Act would make sure annual inflation adjustments are based on a formula that better measures seniors’ spending. Increasing medical costs and rising prices prescription drugs disproportionately impact seniors, Sanders told the audience here in South Carolina.

Legislation he introduced in the Senate also would increase Social Security benefits and scrap a cap on income subject to the payroll tax. Now, someone making millions of dollars a year pays no more than someone making $118,500 a year. Levying the same tax rate on annual income greater than $250,000 would only impact the top 1.5 percent of wage earners while boosting benefits for millions of retirees.

“I would hope that every Democratic candidate for president of the United States is prepared to lift the cap and expand benefits for millions of seniors in this country who desperately need to see those benefits expanded,” Sanders said.

According to published reports, Clinton has not categorically ruled out benefit cuts including an increase in the retirement age.

Sen. Sanders’ plan to expand and extend Social Security would boost the income of a typical senior making less than $16,000 a year by about $1,300 a year. It would also make sure that Social Security could pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 50 years.

How Raising Wages Effects Seniors And Social Security

Lucy EdwardsLucy Edwards, President of the NH Alliance For Retired American talks about the importance of raising wages for seniors.

A few of the moronic people running for President of the United States, think they will get elected by attacking seniors.

Jeb Bush wants to “phase out Medicare.” Chris Christie and Marco Rubio want to “raise the retirement age” and reduce benefits to those who are collecting a retirement from their former employer.

This would all be good if the system was overstuffed with wealthy seniors who are lapping it up with their luxurious Social Security checks.

The fact is that the average Social Security payout in New Hampshire is $15,739 a year. This is literally on the verge of poverty. There are too many examples of seniors who have been force to sell their lifelong home because they can no longer afford it on Social Security.

Senator Bernie Sanders has been advocating expanding Social Security to help ensure that seniors do not slip into poverty. He also wants to lift the cap on the payroll tax.

On Saturday, Lucy Edwards, president of the NH Alliance for Retired Americans, addressed the more than 200 attendees at the Raising Wages Summit, on the benefits of raising the wages for seniors.

Raising the minimum wage has a direct connection to seniors and specifically their Social Security. Social Security benefits are based on the amount of money you made in each qualifying year. This means that if a worker makes more in their early years, which will benefit them in their later years.

There is another benefit to Social Security that comes from increasing the minimum wage, more payroll tax. Social Security is funded by the minuscule payroll tax automatically comes out of your paycheck. By increasing wages, more money will be collected by the Social Security Payroll tax solidifying the solvency of the program for years to come.

Edwards also highlighted one more reason why we need to raise wages for workers and close the income inequality gap is because we will all live longer. That’s right, inequality can be bad for your health.

Part of the reason low-income workers have a shorter life expectancy is because they tend to work in highly physical jobs that take a strain of their bodies, access to healthcare from an early age and continuing that care as an adult.

Edwards is an outspoken advocate for seniors and all working families. She wants everyone to live well and be able to retire with dignity and security.


Below is the full video from the Lucy Edward’s speech at the Raising Wages Summit.

Speaker Ryan Has Three Goals: Destroy Social Security, Medicare And The USPS

Paul Ryan (FLIKR CC Starley Shelton)

Paul Ryan (FLIKR CC Starley Shelton)

Koch Brothers darling Multi Millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan is leaping back on to the national stage as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr Ryan was initially hesitant citing family concerns (despite the fact he is an opponent of paid leave for ordinary Americans)  but eventually was swayed by other GOP leaders to take the job. Ryan, who seems fixated on reducing retirement benefits for both the American public and especially federal workers, will have a larger platform to try to make these cuts a reality. Clearly these ideas are unpopular to many but as Paul Krugman brilliantly stated, Ryan is “the best con man they got.”  Republicans are using him to sell their treasure trove of unpopular policies to the apathetic American Public

Ryan was an architect of George Bush’s  failed plan to partially privatize  Social Security in 2005. More recently Ryan has teamed up with Congressman Darrell Issa to push the idea of reducing Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) benefits for Federal Workers. In a letter to the Congressional Budget Office they emphasized that the CBO should consider “different options for reforming FERS, based on changes made in recent years to other large pension plans, both public and private. The report should include, but not limit itself to, adjusting the retirement contributions of federal employees, altering the formula for computing pension benefit payments, and expanding the defined contribution component while reducing the defined benefit component.” This sounds quite ominous for Federal Workers. The intent is crystal clear.

As outlined in The New Yorker Ryan believes the only reason privatization failed in 2005 was because of the way it was marketed.

“The Administration did a bad job of selling it,” he told me. Bush had campaigned on national-security issues, only to pitch Social Security reform after reelection. “And . . . thud,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to prepare the country for these things. You can’t just spring it on them after you win.” The lesson: “Don’t let the engineers run the marketing department.”

 

Here is where the job of being an elite con man comes into play.

10404189_10153548324976418_913827613849190064_nAfter repeatedly emphasizing he did not want the Speaker’s job he abruptly changed his mind and accepted it. Publicly he worried that “its a job for a empty nester” not a person with young children.  “I cannot and will not give up my family time,” he told reporters before abruptly changing his mind.  Curiously Ryan has been a staunch opponent of paid family leave despite the fact the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not offer paid family leave.  Astonishingly this country ranks last in government supported time off for new parents.

“Paul Ryan is rightly concerned about his job’s impact on his spouse and children,” said Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project. “Yet [he] isn’t willing to guarantee that all workers… have the necessary tools to balance their work and family obligations.”FT_13.12.11_parentalLeave

“For workers without paid family leave, taking time off to care for a new baby or a seriously ill loved one can have devastating long-term financial consequences, ranging from racking up credit card debt to raiding savings to bankruptcy,” Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, told ABC News. “Paid family leave would provide a critical safety net for these working families in their times of need.”

Make no mistake Speaker Ryan will be pushing an agenda that is quite friendly to Multi Millionaires children at the expense of working families.  “My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up, of some day having my own kids ask me, ‘When the stakes were so high, why didn’t you do all you could? Why didn’t you stand and fight for my future when you had the chance?'” Ryan said to reporters. His children do not have to worry he will make life easier for children of the wealthy at every turn.

Speaker Ryan will try to dismantle the three of most popular parts of the federal government to continue the GOP fixation of shrinking government.

Speaker Ryan accepts millions of dollars from individuals and groups that will profit by turning medicare/medicaid into a voucher scheme and by the privatization of Social Security.  He targets for “reform” include vital government services like the US Postal Service, Social Security Administration, and Medicare/Medicaid all services that benefit ordinary Americans.  The wealthy have no need for a safety net. They want to profit by its demise.

Speaker Ryan will now play the role of con man daily on a national scale. He surely will be selling day for night.  We all must call him out on his continued  hypocrisy before our countries safety net vanishes.  Ryan and his fellow multi millionaire politicians are in politics for the wrong reason. They want to accelerate the wealth of the few at the expense of the many.

 

 

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