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Coalition Launches Campaign to Strengthen Social Security

A campaign to protect and strengthen Social Security was announced at a press conference yesterday by a coalition of over 100 groups. The Strengthen Social Security campaign promotes Social Security as a program necessary for American workers, and believes it should not be cut or reduced in any way. Specifically, the campaign advocates against raising the retirement age and the privatization of the program. The campaign also demands that Social Security benefits not be cut in order to reduce the national deficit. Currently, Social Security has a surplus of $2.6 trillion, and has not contributed to the national deficit. Ed Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said in his remarks that the program requires no government financial commitment. During the press conference, several speakers noted the importance of the 2010 elections for the Strengthen Social Security campaign. Justin Ruben, Executive Director of the political action organization MoveOn.org, said, “Our members will be watching elected officials – and those running for office – very closely this summer and fall. We sill stand with those who stand up and protect Social Security. Social Security is the one promise we cannot allow Congress, or the Administration to break.” Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women, also acknowledged the need to monitor Congress. O’Neill stated in her remarks that she is shocked at the complete lack of attention members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform are giving to how reducing benefits would impact women. She said that while female constituents may be invisible to the commission members, “you all are not invisible to us.” Currently women are disproportionately dependent upon Social Security. At age 65, 58 percent of program beneficiaries are women, and by age 85 the numbers are even higher, noted National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. O’Neill said in her remarks that Social Security must not only be strengthened, but strengthened in a way that helps women. This includes adjusting benefits for women who work part time, women who have never been married, and women who drop out of the workforce to care for children and elderly or disabled family members. O’Neill concluded her comments by saying, “rather than cutting Social Security and putting millions of women’s financial security at risk, the Fiscal Commission should address the real causes of the deficit – unfunded wars, irresponsible tax breaks for the wealthiest, and an economic crisis cause by financial regulatory failures.”

Sources:

Strengthen Social Security Press Conference 7/30/10

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