?For too long, Washington?s fiscal hawks have co-opted the deficit conversation suggesting the only way to restore our nation?s fiscal balance is to slash Social Security and Medicare. At the same time many of these ?safety net? opponents were signing pledges to protect tax breaks for millionaires and corporations. That is not fiscal responsibility. Our National Committee members understand this and, thankfully so does our President. The White House has given us a desperately needed reality check offering a deficit plan providing the common-sense balance most Americans know is necessary. President Obama has flatly rejected conservatives? calls to cut Social Security since this program did not create our deficit crisis. In fact, Social Security has a surplus of $2.6 trillion in its trust fund and can pay full benefits for at least 25 more years. Added to that good news is that the President will not recommend raising Medicare?s eligibility age ? safeguarding healthcare access for millions of future retirees.Unfortunately, the President?s other proposals on Medicare are more of a mixed bag offering increased cost-shifting to seniors rather than continuing the work begun with healthcare reform. Medicare is affected by the same rising costs experienced by the rest of our healthcare system. We need to tackle the true problem, not just pass those costs on to seniors. That?s why the National Committee supported health care reform as the best way to bring spending under control, though cost savings have not yet been fully realized since many provisions are still being implemented. Raising premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs for seniors doesn?t address the real challenge facing our nation but merely shifts costs to retirees who are losing an increasing share of their Social Security checks.??Max Richtman, President/CEO