Tuesday, May 4, 2010

CT Retirees Keep Eye on Spending Panel

Don’t Cut Social Security to Lower Deficit, Retiree Leaders Say.

Cal Bunnell, President of the Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans, is encouraging Connecticut retirees to pay close attention to a new federal commission meeting for the first time today in Washington.

The panel, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, is a bi-partisan group charged with recommending ways to lower the federal debt, a goal Bunnell and the CT Alliance fully support. But Bunnell says he is deeply concerned that some are urging the panel to recommend changes in Social Security as a major way to reduce the federal deficit.

“If the commission takes a thorough and honest look at Social Security, it will see one of our nation’s greatest success stories. Social Security has helped generations of retirees stay out of poverty. Connecticut retirees want to make sure that Social Security remains strong for our children and grandchildren,” Bunnell said. He also noted that for over 25 percent of retirees, Social Security is their only source of income. With an average monthly benefit of only $1,164, he said that Social Security is, “a tenuous lifeline for many seniors.”

Bette Marafino, Vice President of the CT Alliance, said that Social Security did not cause our large deficits. She said that since 1983, American workers have paid enough Social Security payroll taxes to accumulate a $2.5 trillion surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund. But that between 2001 and 2006, Washington gave away $2.48 trillion in tax cuts.

To help retirees better follow the panel’s work, the Alliance for Retired Americans has written the Commission to urge that its work be conducted in open, televised sessions and that it hold field hearings across the country to allow public testimony.


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