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Frank Guinta Says He Wants To Make Cuts To Social Security, Repeal ACA And Block Student Loan Refinancing Legislation

Guinta 2010 (Image Jason Meserve)

Former Congressman Frank Guinta affirmed that he still plans to cut seniors’ benefits in an interview with the Concord Monitor last week, saying that “Republicans are going to want” to adopt a benefit-cutting measure, Chained CPI, in the next Congress.

“New Hampshire seniors beware: Frank Guinta has a plan to cut your earned benefits,” said Shea-Porter spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly. “Instead of ending tax breaks for Big Oil and huge corporations, Guinta would balance the budget on the backs of our seniors. His extreme Tea Party platform would not only punish seniors, but also the hardworking Granite Staters who pay into this system with the expectation that their earned benefits will be there when they need them.”

Disturbing facts about Guinta’s benefit-cutting proposal to adopt Chained CPI:

  • Guinta’s proposal would hit beneficiaries harder as they age.
  •  Since women live longer than men and the cuts accelerate over time, women would be hit especially hard.
  •  Under Guinta’s proposal, a senior who retires at 65 would lose almost $14,000 by age 85, and $28,000 by age 95.
  •  By the time retirees reach 85, their benefits would be cut by an average of $1,147 per year.
  • A 92-year-old would lose an entire month’s income from his or her annual benefits.
  •  Guinta’s proposal would cut almost 14 weeks’ worth of food from a 75-year-old’s budget, and almost 24 weeks of food from an 85-year-old’s budget.
  •  Even Guinta’s hyper-conservative pal Grover Norquist opposes the proposal, saying that it’s “a very large tax hike over time.”

Unlike Guinta, Carol Shea-Porter opposes the benefit-cutting chained CPI proposal, and successfully fought to eliminate it from President Obama’s budget proposal.

But wait there is more!

In the interview with the Concord Monitor Guinta stated  “he’d oppose any measure to eliminate student loan debt and saddle taxpayers with that cost instead.”  The current proposal by Senator Warren and co-sponsored by Sen. Shaheen would allow students to refinance their federal student loans.  This does not shift the burden to the taxpayers, it stops the government from collecting over $60 billion in profits off the backs of our college students.

Guinta is still denying climate change science that has the support of 97% of the scientific community. “I’m not sure the science is accurate or complete on this issue.”  As a politician who has received major funding from the Big Oil and the Koch Brothers he would know better than 97% of the scientific community.

Guinta also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “Guinta said he would vote to repeal it, but he does support the provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions and that allow people to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.” Of course he wants to keep the part that has unmatched support by both sides.  Even though Frank Guinta wants to repeal part of the law, and keep part of the law, the Republicans in the House have not submitted any legislation to do that. They continue to waste our taxpayer dollars voting for a repeal that will never get passed the Senate or the President who signed the bill.

The ACA is working. It is saving the government money, including the $600 million in savings from Medicare alone.  The NH Department of Insurance just announced that over 20,000 people have signed up for healthcare who did not previously have any coverage.  So again the ACA is not perfect but it is working. We need to make it better not destroy it completely.  If Congressman Guinta wants to repeal it so bad, he should be the one to tell the 20,000+ people who got healthcare for the first time, that he is taking that away from them to ensure that millionaires and billionaires continue to pay less in taxes than average Americans.

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Endorses Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen

NCPSSM Highlights Shaheen’s Work Protecting Social Security and Medicare, Brown’s Record Siding With Corporate Interests Over Seniors

Scott Brown Voted For Partisan Budget That Cut Social Security and Medicare But Supported Special Breaks for Big Oil, Wall Street and Companies that Outsource American Jobs

Today, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare endorsed New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen for reelection, citing her efforts to protect Social Security and Medicare and helping ensure that seniors get the secure retirement they deserve. The committee also highlighted Scott Brown’s votes to cut Social Security and Medicare, while supporting special breaks for Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that ship jobs overseas.

“I will always stand up for our seniors and middle class families here in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “I’m proud to have opposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare at every turn because I know we shouldn’t be balancing our budget on the backs of seniors.”

“Scott Brown didn’t just vote to cut Social Security and Medicare, he did so while also supporting billions of dollars in special breaks for Wall Street, Big Oil, and companies that ship jobs overseas. Our seniors deserve better,” Shaheen added.

“Our organization is proud to stand with a true champion of New Hampshire’s seniors,” said Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. “While Scott Brown’s record shows he can’t be trusted to protect Social Security and Medicare, Senator Jeanne Shaheen has earned our endorsement because we know she will always fight to protect and strengthen these vital programs.”

Jeanne Shaheen knows that New Hampshire’s seniors deserve to retire with dignity and with the confidence that Social Security and Medicare will be preserved. In the Senate, Shaheen opposed a proposal that would cut to Social Security benefits for seniors, and she is also an original cosponsor of the Medicare Protection Act, which would stop Republicans in Washington from turning the program into a voucher system.

When Scott Brown was in the U.S. Senate, he supported a Republican budget that would have forced deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Brown has also said he is open to partially privatizing Social Security. And unlike Jeanne Shaheen, Brown supports a proposal that would result in Social Security benefit cuts for New Hampshire seniors.

Meanwhile, Scott Brown supported nearly $19 billion in special breaks for Wall Street and more than $20 billion in tax breaks for the country’s largest oil companies, which made more than $90 billion in profits last year.

Guinta Voted For Budget That Was Too Extreme For The Majority Of The GOP

Guinta 2010 - 2 (Image by Jason Meserve)
Guinta 2010 - 2 (Image by Jason Meserve)

Guinta 2010 – 2 (Image by Jason Meserve)

Shea-Porter Campaign Highlights Most Extreme Republican Study Committee Budget Provisions

MANCHESTER—Today, the Carol Shea-Porter campaign released a list of the most extreme provisions that Frank Guinta supported when he voted for the Republican Study Committee Budgets, known as Paul Ryan’s Republican budget “on steroids.” [RSC FY 2012 Vote, RSC FY 2013 Vote]

“Frank Guinta showed his true colors when he voted for an extreme Tea Party budget that even the majority of his fellow Republicans couldn’t stomach,” said Shea-Porter spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly. “Frank Guinta’s Republican budgets on steroids would decimate investments in the middle class in order to slash Social Security, voucherize Medicare, end investments in our communities, and hand out huge tax breaks to big corporations and billionaires. Guinta’s radical right-wing beliefs would have put New Hampshire’s jobs and our seniors’ retirement security in jeopardy.”

Here are the most extreme provisions of Guinta’s Republican Study Committee Budgets:

Voucherize Medicare Even Faster

Guinta’s Tea Party budgets would have implemented a Medicare voucher program even sooner than the Ryan Republican budget, and would raise the eligibility age for Medicare for those who were born after 1952 [The Hill, 4/8/11].

Raise the Social Security Age While Slashing Benefits

The 2012 Tea Party budget would have raised the Social Security eligibility age to 70 by 2045, resulting in a 20% cut in benefits for seniors [Ways and Means Committee Democrats, 4/13/11].

Expand Corporate Welfare

The Tea Party budgets would have cut both the corporate and top tax rate by nearly 30%. Guinta’s tax plan would even make it easier for American corporations to move jobs overseas and avoid paying U.S. taxes [Bipartisan Policy Center, 4/4/12] [Center for American Progress, 7/16/12].

Deregulate the Big Banks

Proving that Guinta sides with big banks at the expense of middle-class American consumers, his 2013 Tea Party budget would eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog responsible for cracking down on abusive banking practices and predatory lenders [FY2013 RSC Budget].

Decimate Education Funding

The 2013 RSC budget would have cut $104 billion from Pell Grants and $47 billion from student loan programs [Bipartisan Policy Center, 4/4/12].

End Local Community Investments

The 2013 RSC budget would eliminate the Economic Development Administration, which works for small businesses and local communities in New Hampshire.

If the EDA were eliminated, the City of Rochester would not have gotten a $1.9 million grant that Carol Shea-Porter secured to fund the “construction of water and sewer infrastructure to … serve as a catalyst for expansion of existing businesses, new business development, and opportunities for job creation to replace almost 500 jobs lost due to the recent closure of several manufacturing companies.” [EDA.gov; FY2013 RSC Budget Blueprint]

Seniors Advocates Launch New Initiative on Economic Equality and Retirement Security for Women

Eleanors Hope

Eleanors Hope

Voter Mobilization on Women’s Equality Is Crucial in November

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare will be joined by members of New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation and our allies in the fight for women’s rights as we launch our new project, “Eleanor’s Hope.” This initiative, named for one of the great leaders in the history of the women’s rights movement, Eleanor Roosevelt, will mobilize women of all ages to advocate for income equality, income security and health protection for women.

When it comes to the issues of retirement security and gender equity, women have a lot at stake in November’s election and beyond.  Through grassroots advocacy and education in our communities from Concord to Capitol Hill, the “Eleanor’s Hope” project will raise awareness, recruit and train new activists, highlight female leaders who are making a difference and generate national interest in women’s health and retirement security issues leading up to the 2014 and 2016 elections.

There are nearly 200 thousand residents in New Hampshire<http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/oasdi_sc/2013/table02.htmln>, age 65 or older, who receive Social Security benefits with women accounting for more than half of those beneficiaries.  Contrary to the political rhetoric so popular in Washington these days, no one is living high on the hog on their Social Security benefit.  In fact, in New Hampshire, the average benefit is just over $1,300 per month. It’s even lower for the average woman retiree who receives just $1,100 per month.  Shockingly, many in New Hampshire receive much less.  While nearly 21% of all of the state’s retirees receive less than $900 per month in Social Security, even more of New Hampshire’s women (30%) receive less than a $900 monthly benefit.

While Social Security is a program that is vitally important to all Americans, it is especially important to the financial security of women. Not only do women, on average, live longer than men they also earn less in Social Security benefits. These fiscal realities for millions of American women increase the risk that they may outlive their savings, impoverishing them and their families.

WHO:    U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

U.S. Representative Ann Kuster

State Senator Peggy Gilmour for Governor Maggie Hassan

Max Richtman, President and CEO, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

Video Presentation by Eleanor Anne Roosevelt, granddaughter of President Franklin and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt

Members of New Hampshire State Legislature

Elise Britton for U.S Representative Carol Shea-Porter

WHAT:       The New Hampshire debut of the Eleanor’s Hope Women’s Equality project, designed to educate voters about rebalancing economic and retirement security to ensure true equality for women.

WHEN:        3pm Wednesday October 15, 2014

WHERE:     Nashua Community College

       Room 150

      505 Amherst St.

      Nashua, NH 03063

With millions of members and supporters across America, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare is the nation’s #1 advocacy group fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare for all citizens from younger workers and baby-boomers to the nation’s 40 million seniors. The National Committee informs its members and other citizens about legislative and regulatory proposals, which will affect their working and retirement life. In turn, we take their concerns directly to the White House and the Congress with our staff of professional lobbyists and grassroots advocates.

For more information about the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare call 1-800-966-1935.

The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.

The Future Of Social Security And Medicare Are At The Forefront This Election

Hands off my social security

New Hampshire senior citizens, their families, and neighbors should do their homework and vote in self-defense on November 4th!  Some candidates running for federal office are on record as supporting cuts to our Social Security and Medicare. They say our safety net is going broke. Some want these programs to go away completely, being replaced by vouchers and Wall Street accounts. Others propose cuts using the Chained Consumer Price Index, and repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including the prescription drug donut hole fix and no co-pay preventative care additions.

But Social Security is not going broke, and a few changes that would be good for all of us would be good for the Social Security Trust Fund as well: raise the minimum wage, enact paycheck equity laws at the federal level (thank you NH for doing this for women here), create more and better paying jobs, and raising or getting rid of the cap on the income that is subject to the FICA tax, now set at $117,000.  Each of these means not only more money for retiree earned benefits, but also more money in the trust fund today.

Medicare’s cost curve is bending down due in part to the changes in the Affordable Care Act. Costs for healthcare for everyone are not rising anywhere near as quickly, and as healthcare providers work for quality care rather than quantity care, costs will continue to ease. We can provide great preventative care and make sure that we aren’t getting procedures and prescriptions that we don’t need, and stay healthier longer.

One in five New Hampshire residents got Social Security benefits in 2013, bringing $4.1 billion dollars in income into our state.  Over 231,000 of us receive Medicare benefits, allowing us to remain healthy and contribute to our communities.

These earned benefits mean that families and communities do not have to worry about carrying the full cost of housing, food and healthcare for those who are retired or disabled. Before we had Social Security and Medicare, half the seniors in our country lived in poverty, and many died what we would consider today premature deaths. Families struggled to support those who could no longer work.

Today the income from these benefits is spent in our communities, supporting the businesses here. Without the income from Social Security and the healthcare savings from Medicare, how will our economy replace the customers with money to spend that provide the “demand” side of supply and demand?  Replacing the $4.1 billion dollars that comes from those 1 in every 5 New Hampshire residents isn’t going to be easy, and our state is growing older every year. Do we really want to do that to our economy?

Healthy and secure seniors provide many hours of volunteer time, the unpaid work that we depend on to run our municipalities, among other efforts. Our school boards, selectboards, planning boards, conservation commissions, and others are either paid a small stipend or serve for free.  Retirees volunteer in schools, at churches, and even as $100 a year legislators! Sometimes it seems that New Hampshire runs on volunteer power!

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans has joined our national Alliance in endorsing Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster for re-election this November.  All three were endorsed for their work to preserve and protect our senior safety net for all New Hampshire citizens, retirees of today and our children and grandchildren.

Be sure you check out the candidates before you vote!  Look at voting records, if they have served before (http://retiredamericans.org/issues/congressional-voting-record).  See what they have said in this and past campaigns. Make sure you know who is really on our side and vote in self-defense!

Lucy Edwards

New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans

Senators Shaheen, Mikulski Meet with New Hampshire Seniors In Rochester, Somersworth

Jeanne Shaheen outside

Senators Highlight Work To Protect Social Security and Medicare, Brown Record Siding With Corporate Interests At Seniors’ Expense 

Scott Brown Supported Special Tax Breaks for Wall Street, Big Oil And Voted For Partisan Budget That Cut Social Security and Medicare

Manchester – Today, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski visited Rochester and Somersworth to meet with seniors and discuss their work to protect Social Security and Medicare. Shaheen and Mikulski also highlighted the differences between Shaheen and Scott Brown’s records when it comes to fighting for New Hampshire seniors.

“I’ll never stop fighting to protect Social Security for New Hampshire seniors, and I’ve always stood up against partisan attempts to cut benefits,” said Shaheen. “Scott Brown’s record is very different: when he was in the Senate, he voted for a budget that would have forced cuts to Social Security and Medicare, but he supported special breaks for Wall Street and Big Oil.”

“Scott Brown’s priorities are wrong for New Hampshire. We shouldn’t balance our budgets on the backs of seniors or middle class families here in New Hampshire,” Shaheen added.

“Time and time again I’ve worked alongside Senator Shaheen to make a difference for seniors across America,” said Mikulski. “Unlike Scott Brown, she understands that it’s wrong to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, and she’s opposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare at every turn. It’s outrageous that Scott Brown would ever support billions of dollars in tax breaks to Wall Street and Big Oil but vote to cut Social Security and Medicare, which help ensure a secure retirement for our seniors.”

Jeanne Shaheen knows that New Hampshire’s seniors deserve to retire with dignity and with the confidence that Social Security and Medicare will be preserved. In the Senate, Shaheen opposed a proposal that would cut to Social Security benefits for seniors, and she is also an original cosponsor of the Medicare Protection Act, which would stop Republicans in Washington from turning the program into a voucher system or raising the eligibility age for benefits.

When Scott Brown was in the U.S. Senate, he supported a Republican budget that would have forced deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Brown has also said he is open to raising the retirement age and partially privatizing Social Security. And unlike Jeanne Shaheen, Brown supports a proposal that would result in Social Security benefit cuts for New Hampshire seniors.

Meanwhile, Scott Brown supported nearly $19 billion in special tax breaks for Wall Street and over $20 billion in tax breaks for the world’s largest oil companies, which made over $90 billion in profits last year.

Millennials Play A Key Part In Our Elections. Why Is Fosters Trying To Scare Them?

Money ('PT Money' ptmoney-com)
Money ('PT Money' ptmoney-com)

Image via ‘PT Money’ at ptmoney.com

Republicans and Democrats are actively trying to court “millennials” to vote for them. Of course the Republicans are at a big disadvantage in this fight because they are stigmatized by the fact that many feel the GOP is nothing but a party of old rich white guys.

It does not help when you see editorials like this one (Another day older and deeper in debt) from the ultra-conservative editors at Fosters Daily Democrat. They are trying to push millennials into voting against Senator Shaheen because she wants to help reduce their student loan debt, and they say that could raise taxes on, “your parents”. Say what?

“Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen would like to offer you lower interest rates, at the expense of raising taxes on, perhaps, your parents.”

This is complete garbage. Senator Shaheen is pushing for a bill authored by Senator Elizabeth Warren, which would allow students to refinance their student loans from interest rates of 6-8% to less than 1%.

Fosters does get a few things right:

  • The average college graduate in New Hampshire leaves school with $33,000 in student loan debt.
  • The federal government is making money off of your student loans.

These are absolute true, and I think it is appalling. The federal government made upwards of $66 billion dollars in profit off of student loans between 2007 and 2012. Senator Elizabeth Warren essentially said that if banks can borrow from the government at .75% then our students should be given the same deal as the big banks.

So what would happen to the federal budget if they cut out the $66 billion dollars in profits from student loans? Fosters wants you to believe that this will result in a tax increase on your parents. This is completely untrue. None of these changes would increase taxes on the middle class families of New Hampshire.

The tax increase that Senator Warren suggested has been dubbed “the Buffet rule” after billionaire Warren Buffet. The tax increase would only effect the ultra-wealthy 1% of America. Warren Buffet has said in many different ways that it is absolutely wrong that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his own secretary. He suggested that the ultra-wealthy 1% could, and should, be paying a higher tax rate.

I agree with Fosters that the national debt is a problem. We must find a way to reduce our national debt that helps to build a stronger economy and a better community. The editors at Fosters and I disagree on the ways we need to address this problem. They want to follow the GOP rhetoric that we must reduce the size of government and force draconian cuts to all federal programs (except for anything surrounding the DOD). I disagree with this. If you look back at history, it was government investment through work programs (building roads and bridges), increasing the minimum wage, a strong manufacturing base and strong unions that pulled us out of the Great Depression. At the same time we created “Social Security” to help our seniors retire with dignity.

Next we need to raise our gross domestic product. We need to increase manufacturing here at home and start reducing our debt by changing our trade deficit to a trade surplus. The more we make right here at home, the more people have jobs. The more jobs we have, the more money is spent in our local communities. It starts by looking for the “made in the USA” label!

Next to reduce government spending and reduce our national debt, we must start by increasing the minimum wage. Too many Americans are working one, two or even three jobs and can barely afford to pay their rent and feed their children. By increasing the minimum wage, to a real living wage, full time workers would be making enough to take care of their family without any assistance from the government.

Of course there are other solutions that none of the “Tea Party” conservatives want to talk about. One is placing a .5% tax on Wall Street. The tax would take a fraction of a penny on every transaction. This “Robin Hood Tax” would generate upwards of $350 billion dollars a year. $350 billion would cover the loss in revenue from the student loan interest, restore some of the cuts made to social programs, and still have plenty more to begin to repay our national debt. This would also have the added benefit of slowing down Wall Street and encouraging corporations to invest more of their profits in workers and the longevity of their company, not inflating their stock prices.

Ultimately it is about ensuring that corporations and the millionaires and billionaires are paying their fair share in taxes.

 __________________________________________

One last thing, Fosters tossed in this line about Social Security which is another attempt to scare millennials into believing that Social Security will be extinct by the time they reach retirement.

“According to Pew Research, 90 percent believe Social Security benefits will be reduced (39%) by the time you become eligible or won’t exist at all (51%).” (Emphasis added)

This statement is nothing more than proof that the majority of Americans do not understand what is really happening to Social Security. These numbers are the results of a poll where people believe that Social Security will completely fall apart.

As the AFL-CIO laid it out, “Social Security is not going broke. It will always be able to collect payroll tax revenue to fund benefits. According to the Trustees, Social Security can pay 100% of promised benefits until 2033. Without any changes at all, Social Security can pay three-fourths of promised benefits indefinitely after that.

The Social Security Trust Fund collects money from payroll taxes. By increasing the minimum wage, it would automatically increase the revenues collected through the payroll tax therefor strengthening Social Security, and adding to its fully funded longevity.

Many elected leaders like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders think that minor adjustment to the Payroll Tax would strengthen Social Security and would allow for higher benefits for retirees. They just want to remove the Social Security cap forcing the ultra-wealthy to pay into Social Security Trust Fund like all the rest of us. Problem completely solved!

 

When Will Senator Ayotte Start Listening To The People On Protecting Our Earned Benefits?

Image and rights from the  NHARA

Editor’s Note: Below is a cross-post from the NH Alliance for Retired Americans who have been working over the last year to meet with and talk to Senator Ayotte.  I believe Sen. Ayotte’s office has met with them once, they are obviously not listening to what the people are saying.  When I wrote to Sen. Ayotte about protecting Social Security and Medicare, I got the exact same form letter that Lucy attached below. 

Image and rights from the  NHARA

Image from the NH ARA

Senator Ayotte, You Are Not Listening

Written by Lucy Edwards
President of the NH Alliance for Retired Americans
Posted on the NH ARA Blog

I received an e-mail letter from Senator Ayotte on the subject of Social Security and Medicare (or as she calls them, “entitlements.”) I would like to suggest to her that if she REALLY is interested in making sure that these earned benefit programs are available into the future, she consider some really simple solutions.

First, to fund the Social Security Trust Fund so that it can pay benefits indefinitely, we could do some combination of the following:

  • Raise the minimum wage.  If incomes are higher, payments into the trust fund are higher.
  • Raise the income cap.  If higher earners have to pay on more of their earnings, the payments into the trust fund will be higher.
  • Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. If women earn more, their payments into the trust fund will be higher.
  • Vote for infrastructure funding and other stimulus programs to raise the number of jobs and the pay for workers.  If more people are working, and making decent incomes, the payments into the trust fund will be higher.  AND life both today and in retirement will be much better for ALL Americans.

I would also remind her that the Affordable Care Act is already lowering the rate of growth of healthcare costs, including Medicare.  More preventative care, less spending on high cost procedures, correcting the overpayments for Medicare Advantage policies, and reining in fraud will help keep costs under control.  Don’t repeal the ACA!

We could also discuss the use of the national debt (for which Republican presidents are mostly responsible) as a straw man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man) but we will leave that for another discussion.

Here is her letter:

Thank you for contacting me regarding entitlement reform, particularly as it relates to Medicare and Social Security.  I appreciate hearing from you.

Our $17 trillion national debt threatens not only our economic prosperity but also our security and sovereignty.  I believe that it is my responsibility to analyze the underlying problems perpetuating the unsustainable growth in our federal debt and to make a real effort to solve them.  This includes evaluating all areas of the federal budget to determine where appropriate reductions can be made and making the necessary reforms to entitlement programs to ensure they are solvent for current and future generations.

Spending for major health and retirement programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, will increase in coming decades, putting greater pressure on the rest of the federal budget.  According to the Office of Management and Budget, in fiscal year (FY) 2013, 66 percent of all federal spending was on entitlement programs, net interest, and other social safety net programs.  Unless significant actions are taken to address these programs’ structural problems, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will grow to consume every dollar of revenue raised by the government.

I also understand the importance of these programs and am aware of how many Americans rely on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  As baby boomers continue to retire, health care costs and Social Security outlays will rise.

According to the most recent Medicare Trustees report, the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund has been running cash flow deficits since 2008.  The only thing keeping the program afloat financially is the sale of Treasury bonds in the Medicare Trust Fund – deficit spending.  According to the report, the Medicare HI Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2030.

In addition, the Social Security Trustees report that the Social Security program is now in a permanent cash flow deficit, meaning that as baby boomers retire, the Trust Funds are obligated to pay out more benefits than there are incoming payroll taxes.  This means that to pay benefits, the government must cut spending, raise taxes, or borrow more money from overseas to finance payments.  The Trustees estimate that the Social Security Trust Funds will have a shortfall of $9.6 trillion over the next 75 years and will be exhausted in 2033.  This means that in just 20 years beneficiaries would have to see a 23 percent benefit cut.

I believe we need to ensure the long-term viability of entitlement programs.  In strengthening entitlements, we should ensure that those in or near retirement will not be negatively impacted by any reforms.  However, the longer we put off reforming entitlements, the more difficult changes will be on those nearing retirement.  In order to strengthen entitlements, members of both parties will need to muster the political courage to stop putting off the tough decisions that need to be made in order to preserve these programs and protect the economic strength of our country.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.  As your Senator, it is important for me to hear from you regarding the current issues affecting New Hampshire and our nation.  Please do not hesitate to be in touch again if I may be of further assistance.

Sincerely,
Kelly A. Ayotte
U. S. Senator

Shea-Porter Challenges Guinta, Innis to Reverse Their Support For Social Security Cuts

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter 
(image by MARCN Creative Commons On Flickr)

On 79th Anniversary, She Commits to Strengthen and Protect Benefits

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter  (image by MARCN Creative Commons On Flickr)

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter
(image by MARCN Creative Commons On Flickr)

ROCHESTER, NH—Today, on Social Security’s 79th anniversary, Carol Shea-Porter’s campaign reaffirmed her commitment to protect and strengthen Social Security, and challenged Republican candidates Frank Guinta and Dan Innis to reverse their support for cuts to senior benefits.

“Carol understands that generations of New Hampshire seniors have earned Social Security through a lifetime of work—that’s why she’s fighting to protect benefits for current and future recipients,” Shea-Porter spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly said. “Her dedication to seniors stands in stark contrast to what Frank Guinta and Dan Innis have said.”

Former Congressman Frank Guinta helped write the infamous Republican budget, and supports privatizing Social Security and gambling away seniors’ benefits in the stock market. In fact, Guinta is so committed to dismantling Social Security that in May 2010 he said he hoped his kids would never know what Social Security is.

At one of Shea-Porter’s open town halls last year, Republican candidate Dan Innis showed his intention to reduce benefits when he stood up and asked Shea-Porter how she would reform “entitlements,” which are actually benefits earned by a lifetime of hard work.

“Frank Guinta and Dan Innis should take Social Security’s anniversary as an opportunity to reverse their support for policies that gamble away seniors’ retirement security,” Connolly said. “Granite State seniors deserve to know whether Guinta and Innis still support extreme cuts that would threaten our seniors’ earned benefits.”

Richard Trumka on Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports

Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)

Today’s reports from the Social Security and Medicare Trustees have good news for all Americans: Social Security and Medicare will be there for us and our families if elected leaders listen to the American people and reject calls to cut benefits.  Instead of undermining these crucial programs, we must build on their success and adopt measures to strengthen and expand them.

The Trustees’ reported improvements for Medicare are a positive development for anyone who pays for health care, because they are driven by expected slower growth in health spending in the short run. This reminds us that we have a health care cost problem, not a Medicare problem.  Strengthening Medicare for the long run means bringing health care cost growth under control throughout our economy.

America’s most important retirement program will remain strong for many more years to come, unchanged from last year’s report.  It has become increasingly clear, however, that strengthening Social Security for the future must include improvements in benefits.  Social Security remains the sole retirement income plan that is broadly available and that Americans can count on to provide secure lifetime benefits.

The Social Security Trustees reported once again that the Disability Trust Fund can pay full benefits until 2016, with enough revenue after that time to cover about 80 percent of promised benefits.  Congress should act soon to ensure disabled workers and their families will continue to receive the benefits they have earned.  This can be done by allocating a larger share of current payroll tax contributions to the Disability program, as has been done many times before.  Congress should reject calls to misuse this opportunity to undermine the sole source of disability income protection that is working well for America’s families.

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