Letters to the Editor

Retirement benefits

October 18, 2011


To the editor:

AARP members from across the country were in Washington last week to send a clear message to the “supercommittee” and all members of Congress that seniors aren’t numbers. We aren’t line items in a budget. And we definitely aren’t pushovers.

Right now, too few people outside Washington know that behind closed doors the supercommittee is considering proposals that would shift health care costs onto seniors and cut their Social Security checks. Instead of focusing on cutting waste and tax loopholes, they’re threatening our hard-earned Medicare and Social Security benefits.

If Congress really wants to look at numbers, it should be looking at these: 478,138 Kansans rely on Social Security, including 314,968 retirees, 65,631 people with disabilities, 40,996 widows and widowers, 36,347 children and 20,196 spouses. Social Security pumps over $522 million into the Kansas economy each month, which is the total Social Security benefits received by Kansans in December 2009.

And let’s get real. It isn’t as if the benefits of these programs are lavish. Even with these benefits, half of those aged 65 and older have an annual income of less than $18,500 per year. Today’s Medicare beneficiaries already must pay an average of $3,000 each year out of their own pockets for their medical expenses — and their out-of-pocket share is rising every single year.

We’ve talked to our members all across Kansas and it doesn’t matter if they’re Republicans, Democrats or Independents, they think it’s wrong for the supercommittee to cut the benefits they’ve worked for and depend on.


Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

c/p, c/p, c/p. Rinse and repeat. Occupy merrill! (from a source)


Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

By Doug Orr

The opponents of Social Security will stop at nothing in their long crusade to destroy the most efficient retirement system in the world. Opponents have taken two tracks to attack Social Security.

The first is to claim the system as it is will fail, and the second is to claim that privatization is a better way to provide for retirement security. The first claim was the favorite from 1935 to about 2001.Then the privatization claim became the vogue. Now the first is back on the table.

With corporations routinely defaulting on their pension promises, more and more workers must rely on their individual wealth to make up the difference. The stock market collapse at the turn of the millennium wiped out much of the financial wealth of middle class Americans, and the collapse of the housing bubble has wiped out much of their remaining wealth.

Making any cuts to Social Security now, either by raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, would have a huge impact on their remaining retirement income and are not necessary to “save the system.” In fact, to make the most of the modifications currently being proposed by Obama's commission would be the height of folly.

More info not rhetoric:


Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Social Security is Safe Insurance

Millions of Americans have lost their retirement funds due to: • Unexpected job losses to outsourcing • The savings and loan scandal during the Reagan/Bush years • ENRON • Dot com fraud • Bernie Maddoff • Home loan fraud during the Bush/Cheney admin which put an estimated 11 million out of work

Social Security hasn't contributed a dime to the deficit. It has a $2.6 trillion surplus. It can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years.

In essence we never know from one day to the next if we will be employed. As we all know Wall Street investing offers no guarantees of safety.

Meanwhile: The best way to explain Social Security is to say what it is. It’s an insurance system that protects your income when you retire or face disability, and provides income to your children if you die.

Politicians want you to look at Social Security as an investment--but it is a form of insurance that guarantees a constant stream of income in retirement or in case of disability, adjusted to protect against inflation, for as long as you live.


George Lippencott 2 years, 6 months ago

Like many seniors I have accepted the reality that I am going to see some reduction in my pre-paid Social Security and Medicare benefits while also accepting increases in my taxes. Like many AARP members, I share Ms. Turner’s concern that the super-committee just may use Medicare and Social Security to “solve” the deficit without asking shared sacrifice from others to include addressing the serious imbalance in our tax system and wealth distribution.

The reality is that the trust funds for both programs are exhausted and essentially most future payments must come from the general fund. Those costs are in addition to the $800 billion per year shortfall already built into the deficit. We must also find funds to pay for Obama Care as it ramps up without any dedicated revenues (probably to around $40 to $80 billion per year). We can raise taxes to partially address this requirement but there is no rational way we can extract the sums required without cuts. Both parties spent the trust fund money. It is irrational to argue that any given tax cut caused the problem as we should have adjusted our expenditures to meet our revenues like any other responsible “family”.

I am hoping that what I am seeing is posturing by all sides and that the seriousness of the situation will slowly sink in yielding a “fair” and reasonable solution that preserves the social safety net and maintains faith with those who have paid their dues while implementing improvements that lead to the delivery of necessary social services at a cost we can afford.


Gandalf 2 years, 6 months ago

"Tea party leaders say they would ‘absolutely’ abolish Social Security.

As many observers have noted, tea party fervor has infected the modern Republican Party. The Republican Budget Road Map, championed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and a growing number of GOP lawmakers, would appease the tea parties by slashing entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security through cuts and privatization. Unfortunately, King did not discuss the billionaire-backers of the tea parties, like David Koch, who similarly wants to do away with Social Security."


Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Single-Payer News 10/18/ 2011

  1. Health Law to Be Revised by Ending a Program By Robert Pear for the New York Times

  2. Why Wall St. and Corporate Insurance Should Get Out of Healthcare

3.Healthy Rebellion: The Uninsured Step Forward By Paul Glover for Tikkun

  1. CLUW 2011 Convention Calls for Mobilization for National Single Payer Healthcare From Unions for Single Payer

  2. Single Payer Medicare Insurance is the Solution...Not the Problem We need Single Payer Medicare Insurance for All!


bjohanning 2 years, 6 months ago

SS was self funded, where is the money? It went into the General Fund of the USA, it is about time that money was returned, if it was there would not be a short fall. The Tax cuts by the GOP have been paid partly by these diverted funds “We the people” have paid into the SS fund over the years. Taxes must be part of the equation, to say otherwise, well, who is being led around by the nose.


BornAgainAmerican 2 years, 6 months ago

This is the AARP once again demonstrating their far left agenda and scaring seniors. The AARP must have very privileged information on the activities of the supercommitte, because absolutely no one else is talking about cutting benefits for seniors who are currently receiving SS. This is more class warfare from the left and just plain old out and out lying. They oughta' be ashamed.


its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

$18k a year? Probably a raise for you you Mrs . Turner, director AARP Kansas. How about a "thank you"? You are an Obama class warrior, aren't you? Do you know Chris Chapin?


Mike Gerhardt 2 years, 6 months ago

The AARP is mor about their own power and profit than they ever were for seniors. Galdalf, I believe that seniors are smarter than tp be led by the nose by AARP and the left. It is the clueless youngsters with little life experience that can be led by the far left.


Gandalf 2 years, 6 months ago

Hopefully all seniors will remember and vote AGAINST all republicans in the next election.


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