While millennials feel the gutting of the social contract in their inability to buy homes, older Americans are feeling it in their inability to retire. You have probably heard the outdated slogan that to retire, you need Social Security, personal savings and a pension. But now, most workers in our country don’t have much in savings, and traditional pensions have disappeared.
Making policy changes that increase economic security for younger working families now, with particular attention to gender and racial disparities, will improve outcomes for all generations.
Two-thirds of all seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income. But there won't be a cost-of-living adjustment in their Social Security checks next year, even though data show their costs are rising. There's a fix ready to go -- will Congress act in time to implement it?
While the importance of Social Security to seniors is most often in the spotlight, said Marilyn Watkins, policy director for the Economic Opportunity Institute, the program also has helped stabilize the economy overall.
The kids are all right. And so are their grandparents. Why? Because Social Security is there -- for all of us. And we can make that promise even better by making sure we all pay the same tax rate for the same guarantee.
Conservative billionaire Pete Peterson, a major financier in the effort to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, just got some egg on his face courtesy of the Social Security Works - Washington coalition, the Economic Opportunity Institute and PSARA. The winning video in the Pete Peterson Foundation’s video contest – which had the goal of “compiling videos of people across the country letting Congress and the President know why fixing our national debt is so important” – was “Just Scrap the Cap”, which represents the antithesis of Peterson’s austerity agenda.
In 1983, the so-called “Reagan Reforms” made some big changes to Social Security including eliminating the survivors benefits for college students, boosting the payroll tax, and raising the retirement age from 65 to 67. As a result, anyone born after 1960 must now wait until age 67 to receive their full Social Security retirement benefits. But now some conservative thought-leaders and wealthy CEOs are again championing lifting the retirement age, this time to 70. Their argument probably sounds familiar to anyone who remembers the 1983 reforms: as people live longer, the retirement age should adjust upward. It sounds reasonable to people who have white collar jobs working in air-conditioned offices – but for millions of working Americans, the reality is much different.
The fiscal cliff could be more aptly labeled a gentle uphill slope. On the other side of January 1st, new revenues will come into the federal government, after giving away trillions to the wealthy over the past 12 years.
Interested in re-election in 2014? You can pack your bags for home if you vote for the chained CPI. It doesn't matter what party: if you are a Democrat, the Republican candidate will hammer you for cutting Social Security. And if you are a Republican, the Democratic candidate will hammer you for cutting Social Security. It doesn't matter what they actually want. What matters is they have a vote to cut you off at the knees.
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