As we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, we salute Frances Perkins. She was one of our nation’s strongest voices in support of America’s workers and programs like Social Security designed to provide economic security for American families.
About Frances Perkins (1882 - 1965)
Throughout her career, Frances Perkins was a tireless advocate for stronger labor laws, lobbying for better working hours and conditions.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Ms. Perkins as his Secretary of Labor, making her the first woman to hold a cabinet position in the United States . She played a key role in writing the New Deal legislation including minimum wage laws. However, she is most recognized and remembered for her tireless efforts to establish Social Security and other social insurance programs to benefit all Americans.
As Chairman of the Committee on Economic Security, Perkins held a number of hearings on social insurance and later produced a report recommending both unemployment insurance and old-age insurance. She continued to campaign for social security until the Social Security Act was passed on August 15, 1935.
To recognize her distinguished achievements and honor her forward-thinking vision, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation has created the Frances Perkins Legacy Society. Her efforts have helped improve the lives of millions of Americans and her vision provides continuing hope and strength for the future. To read more about her life, visit the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation has created the Frances Perkins Legacy Society to recognize those generous individuals who have included the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation in their will or other estate plans.
By taking this important step, you help to ensure the financial security, health and well being of future generations of maturing Americans.
For more information on how you can leave a legacy to the National Committee Foundation, please complete our Information Request Form or contact Ellen Morgenstern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-216-8369.
CATEGORY: [Social Security]
As the battle to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits wages on we thought we’d go into the weekend on a happier note rather than providing the usual Capital Hill war stories and political intrigues. Here is a quick video we produced to give our community a look at the work the National Committee does here in Washington, D.C. each and every day. We’ve been fighting to strengthen the nation's most successful retirement and health care programs for 30 years now.
Our mission has always been to educate, advocate and mobilize. These days, that’s been quite a challenge. However, thanks to our
millions of members and supporters we have been successful in fighting
efforts to destroy or privatize these programs.
So, this is our story...and
CATEGORY: [Uncategorized], [entitlement reform], [Medicare], [privatization], [Social Security]
Today’s release of the GOP/Ryan budget
reminds us of the famous line, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Today marks the third time House Republicans have released the Ryan budget, which in Rep. Paul Ryan’s Orwellian terms he’s also named a “Path to Prosperity.” Thankfully the result again this year will likely be the same. Dead on arrival. We say thankfully because, once again, this budget pretends deficit reduction alone is economic recovery, while ignoring the financial realities millions of America’s middle-class families still face in this slow economy. This plan also targets seniors in Medicaid with cuts, a “coupon care” plan for Medicare which would ultimately end traditional Medicare, and a fast-track plan to cut Social Security benefits:
“Once again, House Republicans have re-introduced the same flawed budget approach middle-class Americans have rejected in poll after poll and most importantly at the ballot box. Rather than deal with the true challenges facing this nation including, slow economic growth, high unemployment, and unprecedented income inequality, the GOP/Ryan budget targets middle-class seniors and their families with massive cuts to pay for tax cuts benefiting huge corporations and the wealthiest among us. Americans want a balanced approach to the national budget. This cuts-only plan isn’t it.
The Ryan plan would create vouchers in Medicare leaving seniors and the disabled – some of our most vulnerable Americans – hostage to the whims of private insurance companies. Over time, this will end traditional Medicare and make it harder for seniors to choose their own doctor. Vouchers are designed not to keep up with the increasing cost of health insurance… that is why they save money. If the GOP/Ryan budget becomes law, seniors would immediately lose billions in prescription drug savings, free wellness visits and preventative services provided in the ACA, and the Part D donut hole returns.
Destroying traditional Medicare and leaving millions of Americans without adequate health coverage is not a path to prosperity for anyone except for-profit insurers. The American people understand that.” Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
Senate Democrats have also prepared their budget plan which will be released tomorrow. According to Huffington Post, the Democratic Budget plan:
“... calls for $975 billion in additional revenues through closing loopholes and ending tax expenditures. The budget, unlike Ryan's, doesn't close the door on going beyond the fiscal cliff deal either; it calls for the continuation of current tax rates for middle and lower class Americans but does not specify whether current rates should be protected for high-end earners.
“While House Republicans are doubling down on the extreme budget that the American people already rejected, Senate Democrats are going to be working on a responsible budget that puts jobs and the economy first and reflects the values and priorities of middle class families across the country,” read a statement from Murray.
A top Senate Democratic aide said that the specifics -- including where rates should be set, which loopholes should be closed, and which expenditures should be ended -- would be left to the Senate Finance Committee. The Murray budget does give the Finance Committee some help, though, offering parliamentary instructions (known as reconciliation) to help ensure the tax reform bill it produces will be granted an up-or-down vote.
While the $975 billion figure is ambitious, the Senate aide pointed to a report by the Center for American Progress that showed $1 trillion in savings could be gained through "reducing or reforming tax breaks."
On the spending side, Murray's budget looks for $493 billion in domestic cuts, $275 billion of which will come from health care savings. The aide said that those health care savings, which will also be determined by the Finance Committee, would be felt solely on the provider side and not among beneficiaries. Additionally, the budget calls for $240 billion in defense spending cuts and $242 billion in reduced interest payments.
Those savings in total will replace the sequestration-related cuts that went into effect on March 1. Over a ten-year window, they will reduce the deficit by $1.95 trillion. But since Murray's budget also sets aside $100 billion for economic stimulus measures -- $50 billion on repairing highest transportation priorities, $10 billion on projects of major regional importance and the rest on other items like worker training -- the total savings will be measured at $1.85 trillion.”
These budgets clearly lay out starkly different priority choices. Especially for middle-class families and retirees who understand first hand the value of programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and who want those programs preserved for future generations.
CATEGORY: [Budget], [entitlement reform], [Max Richtman], [Medicare], [privatization], [Social Security]
If you listen to any of the hundreds of lobbyists and PR flaks who are part of a billion dollar corporate campaign to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, our fiscal problems have nothing to do with economic collapse, Wall Street excess, or a trillion dollars in wasteful corporate tax loopholes. America’s real problem is grandma and grandpa. According to our nation’s wealthiest CEO’s and Wall Street millionaires, led by “Fix the Debt”, the Business Roundtable and countless other Pete Peterson backed organizations, the solution to our economic woes is to convince America’s young people that Social Security won’t be around for them. Then, make them believe that the “greedy geezers” (aka their parents/grandparents), who are trying to get-by on an average $14,000 annual Social Security benefit, really don’t care about the program’s future - just their own survival. It’s classic case of dodge and deflect -- divide and conquer politics. Economist, Dean Baker explains:
“Peter Peterson, the Wall Street investment banker, has been most visible in this effort, committing over $1 billion of his fortune for this purpose. Recently he enlisted a group of CEOs in his organization, Fix the Debt, which quite explicitly hopes to divert concerns over income inequality into concerns over generational inequality. It argues that programs like Social Security and Medicare, whose direct beneficiaries are disproportionately elderly, are taking resources from the young.
It is easy to show the absurdity of this position. The amount of money that the young stand to lose from the upward redistribution of income is an order of magnitude larger than whatever hit to their after-tax income they might face due to the continuing drop in the ratio of workers to retirees. Also, older people generally have families. This means that when we cut the Social Security or Medicare benefits of middle and lower income beneficiaries we are often creating a gap that will be filled from the income of their children.”
This strategy is nothing new. In fact, it follows an especially cynical proposal (even by Washington standards) created in 1983, after conservatives were unsuccessful in their attempts to convince the Social Security Commission to privatize Social Security. The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik describes the Cato Institute’s generational warfare strategy, now in full implementation here in Washington,
“The purest articulation of intergenerational warfare as a wedge to break up Social Security's political coalition is a 1983 paper published by the libertarian Cato Journal. It was titled "Achieving a 'Leninist' Strategy," an allusion to the Bolshevik leader's supposed ideas about dividing and weakening his political adversaries.
The paper advocated making a commitment to honor Social Security's commitment to the retired and near-retired as a tool to "detach, or at least neutralize" them as opponents of privatization or other changes. Meanwhile, doubts among the young about the survival of the program should be exploited so they could be "organized behind the private alternative."
So when you hear a politician promising to exempt the retired and near retired from changes to Social Security, while offering to make it more "secure" for future generations, you now know the game plan.”
The real problem is this “game plan” will be devastating for America’s young people. The wealthy corporate “generals” of this generational warfare strategy claim to be “saving” the social safety net for future generations. In truth, it’s America’s young people who will face the biggest benefit cuts if they buy into this campaign. The fact is, the Recession Generation will need Social Security and Medicare just as much, if not more than the parents and grandparents these wealthy CEO’s are trying to demonize. The Center for Retirement Research of Boston College reports:
“Adults age 25 to 34 in 2008 will see their age-70 incomes fall by 4.9 percent (or $3,000 per person) as a result of the recession. Younger workers are especially hard hit since they lose the benefits of compounding interest. Compounding becomes an especially powerful force in a 401(k) when combined with pre-tax contributions and the fact that they do not pay taxes on their annual 401(k) account earnings.”
Not only couldl this generation face lower incomes but many younger households are also carrying more student loan debt after the recession than before: 40% had such debt in 2010, up from 34% in 2007 and 26% in 2001. Our nation’s seniors know that cutting already modest benefits for future generations will leave their children and grandchildren facing a retirement that could be just as financially difficult as the economic troubles they now face in their youth. That’s why the vast majority of Americans oppose cutting benefits under the guise of deficit reduction. In fact, a recent National Academy of Social Insurance poll shows most are willing to pay more to preserve and even improve benefits. That’s certainly doesn’t fit the “greedy geezer” propaganda offered by corporate lobbyists posing as deficit hawks.
Social Security and Medicare aren’t the problems. However, rising income inequality and Washington’s economic policies which have shifted income away from middle-class families (including the young and old alike) to America’s millionaires and corporations are the problems. That’s why groups like Fix the Debt, the Business Roundtable, the Peterson Foundation and the rest of Washington’s massive corporate lobby have made such a huge investment in slick messaging campaigns to convince America’s young people to focus on their grandparents’ $14,000 Social Security benefit rather than the trillion dollars in tax breaks and loopholes enjoyed by our nation’s wealthiest.
CATEGORY: [entitlement reform], [Medicare], [Social Security]
It's easy in this era of Washington deficit mania to focus solely on the numbers on a budget spreadsheet while losing sight of the fact that the austerity agenda pushed by those least likely to be impacted by their policies will have serious implications for America's middle class families. This is especially true for those already struggling in this economic slowdown, especially communities of color. We've talked about this a lot during February's Black History month coverage and NCPSSM will continue to address these issues throughout the ongoing budget and deficit debate. In case you missed it, here's a wrap up of some of our February coverage:
CATEGORY: [Aging Issues], [Budget], [entitlement reform], [Social Security]
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