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From the monthly archives: September 2008

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'September 2008'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Mobilizing Seniors for Social Security

We've officially kicked off our national Voter Outreach campaign.  Our goal is to urge seniors and their families to get the facts, ask tough questions and learn where the candidates stand on critical issues such as the privatization of Social Security.  
"Economic, retirement and health security top the list of important issues for American voters especially for seniors who live on fixed incomes and depend on vital programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Given our current economic crisis, and the Wall Street meltdown, it is especially important that retirees, the disabled and their families understand what's at stake in the debate over Social Security and privatization." Barbara B. Kennelly, NCPSSM President and CEO   
Here's our "Ask the Candidates" video emailed to National Committee members and posted on YouTube: Our Radio Ad Campaign will begin in Debate cities this week: Ask the Candidates-Radio Ad The National Committee is also sponsoring:  
  • Grassroots informational events nationwide
  • NPCSSM PAC Congressional endorsement events
  • Congressional Voting Guide exclusively for NCPSSM members
Senior voters will once again play an important role in choosing the new Congress and President.  Voters over age 55 turn out to the polls most consistently and in higher percentages than other any voting bloc and it appears this election year will be no exception.  The National Committee believes better informed citizens make better voters and that is the ultimate goal of this nationwide outreach and education campaign.

Let's Get it Right on Social Security

Barbara B. Kennelly, President/CEO The Washington Post and made several errors recently in their comments about Social Security privatization.  Let's start with the Post.  Ruth Marcus says the 2005 Bush privatization proposal, which Senator McCain supported, would have reduced annual Social Security benefits for an average earner, retiring in 2045, by only about 16 percent and 28 percent if retiring in 2075. However, the Bush privatization plan cuts Social Security benefits in two ways, one of which was ignored in the Post's coverage. The first benefit reduction, cited by the Post, occurs because of the price indexing of benefits. However, private account holders would also be subjected to an additional cut in traditional Social Security benefits that reduces benefits by the amount contributed to private accounts, plus an interest charge. For the average wage earner, the cut would amount to almost half of their Social Security benefit.  Once you add these cuts together, as Jason Furman at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities did in 2005, the medium wage earner retiring at 65 in 2075 would have a 73 percent cut in benefits. A worker at a higher income, around $60,000 in today's dollars, would see a 97 percent cut in his or her traditional Social Security benefit. Virtually all of this worker's retirement income would depend on a private account and additional savings. Clearly, the events of the last few weeks have shown us, having every dime of your retirement savings subject to the ups and downs of Wall Street is not a good idea.            Meanwhile, calls this statement from Senator Obama in Florida 
"But if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week"
a "whopper" because the privatization plan that Senator McCain supported would have excluded current seniors.  O.K., so maybe Senator Obama could have thrown in another "would" into his sentence for clarity as in "who would rely" but is that really such a whopper?  Hardly.  While proponents of private investment accounts would exclude people 55 and older from their plans at the time of implementation, people reaching 55 thereafter would not be excluded from private accounts and their consequences.  Workers nearing retirement are particularly vulnerable to drops in the stock market since they have less time to recover from their losses.  Senator Obama was correct  when he said, "if my opponent had his way" - that is, if privatization had been fully in effect - millions of Americans would have had their retirement money tied up in the stock market in Social Security private accounts. If private accounts had been in effect, Americans would have been worrying not only about the future of their money markets and their 401(k)s, but also about the future of their market-based Social Security accounts. Also, participation in private accounts cannot be said to be truly voluntary. Many privatization plans, including the Bush plan, contain features, such as cuts in traditional Social Security benefits, which were so large that Americans would be forced to participate in the account and take market risk in the part of their retirement income that is supposed to be secure. That's the problem with privatization and that's the issue that Senator Obama was raising. All privatization plans have the same problem. Private account plans don't work without huge cuts in future benefits or increases in taxes - more than necessary to just fix Social Security - or trillions of dollars in increased public debt.      We should care about tomorrow's widows as much as we do today's. We should be worried about the retirement security of tomorrow's grandparents as much as today's. Those who retire under a privatized Social Security system, as supported by Senator John McCain, are going to have some unhappy surprises.

2009 Medicare Part B Premiums

CMS has announced next year's Part B premiums, for monthly outpatient care, will remain the same for about 95% of Medicare recipients at $96.40.  Kaiser has a good roundup of coverage and analysis of the announcement.  Here is the CMS release.

Social Security Privatization and CNN

Kudos to CNN and Jack Cafferty for being among the first of the main stream media to catch the critical link between the mess we're seeing on Wall Street and the still possible privatization of Social Security.  While we highly recommend you watch this whole segment we have to highlight our favorite comment from the Cafferty file: 
Grace writes:  If it wasn't for FDR and Social Security, I would be living with my Republican children. Enough said.  

Trying to Have it Both Ways on Social Security

Senator John McCain continues to slam Wall Street but at the same time supports sending American retirees' Social Security to investors. Here's one of his latest having-it-both-ways-moments on CNN:   
"We will come back from this crisis, but right now we are the victims of greed, excess and corruption on Wall Street" and "It's a very tough crisis and we are the victims of the violation of the social contract between capitalism and the American citizen"...Senator John McCain, CNN, September 16, 2008
Here is the National Committee's President/CEO, Barbara Kennelly's, reaction:

 "If Senator John McCain believes the American people are the victims of ‘greed, excess, and corruption on Wall Street' how can he continue to justify his support for a plan which would send billions of Social Security dollars to Wall Street through private accounts?  Social Security privatization would put retirees' guaranteed benefits in the hands of the very same people Senator McCain chastised today. Investing on Wall Street has always been and continues to be a gamble, which is why the American people rejected Social Security private accounts years ago.  Yet privatization remains a part of the GOP platform and Senator McCain's Social Security strategy.   Senator McCain can't have it both ways. We deserve a straight answer on how Senator McCain will protect America's true social contract, which exists between generations of working families who contribute to and depend on Social Security, without destroying that contract through privatization".  ...Barbara B. Kennelly, President/CEO

Americans understand that Social Security is secure...Wall Street is not.   It's why the privatization plan President Bush proposed and John McCain supported was overwhelming rejected.  Now we're seeing first hand the true meaning of the so-called "ownership" society.  If Social Security had been privatized and our money was in private accounts now...American seniors and their families would be on their own. There are number of good articles and blogs on the Wall Street meltdown and Social Security today including: Huffington Post, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, RTT Financial News and CNN’s Cafferty File
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