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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Senator Feinstein – Protect Social Security!

By Katie Gjertson, AFL-CIO

Three days following the 76th birthday of the creation of Social Security, 1,000 seniors, students, and community members rallied in front of Senator Feinstein’s San Francisco and LA offices yesterday, urging the Senator to be a champion on protecting Social Security. Check out photos and video from the events here.

Members of the California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA) have been meeting with Senator Feinstein’s staff to stress the importance of  protecting Social Security. To put a human face on the importance of Social Security, CARA asked its members to submit stories to share with the Senator and her staff.

The response was overwhelming.

“My parents are retired. They lived a responsible life and saved towards retirement. Unfortunately the recent economic problems led to erosion of their pension. Thank God for Social Security. It supports their income. I cannot do it and I’ll need Social Security too! Please act! Please do your part! That’s why we elected you.” --Monique (Los Angeles)

“We, along with children, are among the most vulnerable segment of our population. As a “super” senior; the protection of Social Security is vital to my well-being.” --Jeanette (Los Angeles)

“I am 87-years old and my wife is 84 with 6 grown children. I’m also a WWII wounded Marine veteran. We have counted on Social Security as a supplement to our income. Without it, we would never have survived financially. We have supported you in your political career. Now we need your support.” --Modesto (Bellflower)

CARA collected 2,000 stories in four months, sharing those stories with the Senator’s staff in Los Angeles and San Francisco earlier this week. CARA members stressed the need to have the Senator’s full support to protect Social Security, which has been effectively keeping seniors out of poverty for more than three-quarters of a century, from Congressional Republicans’ proposed cuts. Republicans’ repeated attacks on Social Security and other progressive achievements (like Medicare, health care reform, and even recent National Labor Relations Board decisions) are being used as political cover in the frenzy to “fix” the budget and close the deficit. In reality, Social Security does not contribute a penny to the deficit, is currently running a surplus and is solvent for decades to come. Social Security remains the primary source of income for many retirees who would be destitute without it.

What this debate should be about is protecting the most vulnerable in our society.  In this economic downtown, the working class is getting hit harder than the rich. Currently, the Social Security cap is at $106,000; meaning any money made over $106,000 a year is not getting taxed. The debate should be about scrapping that $106,000 cap, not raising the retirement age. Despite hikes in the cost of food, gas, and health care, recipients of Social Security have not seen a “COLA” – cost of living increase – for the past two years. Instead of lowering the COLA, the debate should be about raising the COLA. The debate should be about calling for raising revenues to fix the budget – the uber-rich and corporations to pay their share of taxes, not putting the burden on the shoulders of those who have already contributed more than their fair share. 

Please call Senator Feinstein to urge her to join us and be a champion for Social Security: SF (415) 393-0707; in LA (310) 914-7300, then your member of Congress (877) 762-8762 and the President (202) 456-1414. This issue isn’t going away, so spread the word to your friends, family and co-workers and call often!  

Posted on 08/19/2011Permalink

More posts by Katie Gjertson

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