Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gang of Six Plan Would Cut Social Security for Ordinary Workers While Cutting Taxes for the Rich

Center for Economic and Policy Research: Statement on the Gang of Six Plan | Press Releases

"The budget plan produced by the Senate’s “Gang of Six” offers the promise of huge tax breaks for some of the wealthiest people in the country, while lowering Social Security benefits for retirees and the disabled. Despite claiming that they will "reform" Social Security on a "separate track, isolated from deficit reduction," the plan includes cuts to Social Security that would be felt in less than six months, as the plan calls for a new inflation formula that will reduce benefits by 0.3 percentage points a year compared with currently scheduled benefits. The plan also calls for a process that is likely to reduce benefits further for future retirees."

For more information on the Gang of Six Plan see the CEPR Statement at

Stop the Cuts to the Social Safety Net!

Medicaid cuts will injure communities of color disproportionately.  11% of Asian Americans, 14% of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, 27% of Latinos, and 27% of African Americans gain access to health care through Medicaid.

Medicaid cuts will injure women disproportionately.  Women account for 70% of Medicaid participants.

Social Security is survival income for many older women, especially older single women.  Fifty percent of women over age 65 rely on Social Security for 80% or more of their income.  According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research: Unmarried women living alone aged 65 and older are three times more likely to be living in poverty than married women aged 65 and older (16.6 percent compared with 4.8 percent). Without Social Security benefits, more than two-thirds of these unmarried women would live in poverty.

An increase in the Social Security retirement age equals a cut in benefits.  The average benefit for women age 65-74 is $10,300; for men it is $13,400.  Neither men nor women can afford benefit cuts.

The "Chained CPI" is a COLA cut. It is a cut in benefits seniors cannot afford. According to the National Women's Law Center: For a woman who gets a benefit of $1,100 at age 65, replacing the current COLA with the chained CPI would mean $56 less per month and $672 less per year at age 80.  That may not sound like a lot to some members of Congress—but it’s equivalent to the loss of more than a week’s worth of food per month or 13 weeks of food that year.
Stop the Cuts -- Sign the Petition calling for Congress to RESPECT women, PROTECT Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and REJECT any budget plans that threaten the economic security of women.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Our bedrock social safety net programs should not be adjusted as part of some deal -- any changes to improve the solvency of these programs should stand on their own merits and be considered separately."

This weekend, nine Senators sent a letter to the President reminding him that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit and so should not be sacrificed in the name of deficit reduction.  In addition to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who sent a strong letter to the President last week, the signers included Senators Akaka (D-HI), Begich (D-Alaska), Blumenthal (D-CT), Franken (D-MN), Merkeley (D-Oregon), Stabenow (D-Mich), and Whitehouse (D-RI).

The letter reads: