Take Action - Urge President to Reconsider Bad Deal
Congressional Republicans are already on record supporting the destruction of Medicare and Medicaid as well as accelerated cuts to Social Security benefits. We must stop President Obama from conceding to their unreasonable demands!
Today it was reported that President Obama will agree to deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare in order to get agreement from Republicans to increase taxes. NOW strongly objects to these harmful concessions and urges the president to reconsider. The changes being discussed involve a switch to a Cost-of-Living (COLA) adjustment (for a slower inflation rate), which would result in substantial benefit cuts for the oldest retirees -- mostly women -- and possibly a hike of the full retirement age to 69 -- another serious benefit cut. Without question, many millions of elderly women will fall below the poverty line as a result.
Call and Email White House Today - The comment line for the White House is 202-456-1111 - please call today and send an email using our formatted message below or write one of your own.
Additionally, reductions in funding for the federal Medicare program will mean that senior women -- who have more health care needs than senior men and substantially less income -- will have to pay more. NOW says that these changes represent a serious threat to the most vulnerable among us and urges activists to call and email President Obama objecting to these harmful concessions. Call and email NOW!
New CPI Means Cumulative Benefit Reductions - The COLA change would be based on a new measure of inflation called the "chained" Consumer Price Index (CPI), which seems slight at 0.3 percent, but it gets deeper every succeeding year, and that's where the pain comes in. According to an analysis by the National Women's Law Center, this will mean that a woman who gets a benefit of $1,100 per month (the current median) at age 65 will lose $672 a year, and by age 90 will have $1,000 less per year -- equal to 20 weeks worth of food!
Don't Make Poor Seniors Pay for Republican Leaders' Demands - As the president and his aides have repeatedly acknowledged, Social Security benefit cuts will not reduce the federal budget deficit. The balance (currently $2.7 trillion) in the Social Security Trust Fund by law cannot be spent on other government programs. But seniors, disproportionately women, people of color and people with disabilities, will suffer if the chained CPI takes effect, reducing the Social Security COLA. And these individuals are already stressed. Almost one in four women 65 and older, along with 40 percent of older African American and Hispanic women, have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty level, according to the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement.
Voter Support Base Threatened - Many congressional Democrats have urged that Social Security benefit cuts should not be part of any budget deal, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that Social Security will "not be on the table." President Obama's apparent willingness to trade away the Democrats' most valued promise to their base -- despite consistent polling data showing large majorities of voters from every walk of life, across age, gender, race, ethnicity and even party affiliation lines, oppose Social Security benefit cuts -- is likely to be political suicide.
Democrats lost a substantial chunk of older voters in 2010 when the Republicans carried out a deceptive ad campaign in senior communities saying that the president had slashed Medicare funding; actually the Affordable Care Act identified $575 million in waste, fraud and abuse savings over 10 years. But if Democrats actually vote to cut Social Security and Medicare as part of a budget deal, the political ads attacking them will be devastating.
New CPI Will Increase Your Tax Liability - In sum, these are just plain bad concessions that will hurt seniors -- the poorest ones, in particular. In addition, if the chained CPI is adopted and applied widely, the result would mean an increase in tax liability for middle- and low-income taxpayers, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). Within 10 years, the JCT says, the increased tax liability for persons with annual incomes of $10,000 to $20,000 would be 14.5 percent, while for those with incomes above $1 million, the increased liability would only be 0.1 percent!
President Obama must hear from us -- take action NOW!