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Help Protect Women's Economic Security

Conservatives in Congress are pushing to slash Social Security benefits -- either directly or by raising the retirement age. We need your help to stop politicians and Wall Street from gutting Social Security. This critical safety net is the only thing keeping millions of older women from living in poverty.

To defeat this assault on women's economic well-being, we need President Obama to stand up to the enemies of Social Security and forcefully oppose schemes to cut and privatize the program. While he's at it, the president should back measures to strengthen the system for those who depend upon it the most.

Sign the petition NOW or read on for further information.

To President Barack Obama

Because of wage discrimination and other disadvantages, women in this country face a retirement crisis -- which is worsening due to falling home values, eroded savings and investments, disappearing pensions and other factors. So I am outraged by the push from Wall Street and out-of-touch backers in Congress to weaken and privatize the Social Security system that so many women depend on.

I urge you to do the right thing by speaking out forcefully against any attempt to cut Social Security benefits, increase the retirement age or privatize the system. I also call on you to work with Congress to improve benefits for caregivers, women who have worked a lifetime for unequal pay and those who are outliving their retirement savings.
This petition is no longer active.

554 total signers.

Background:

Why is Social Security a feminist issue? First of all, Social Security provides retirement benefits to significantly more women than men. Women make up 57 percent of beneficiaries age 62 and older and 69 percent of those 85 and older.

Second, Social Security benefits make up a substantial proportion of the money retired women have to live on. Retirement benefits are extremely modest -- women receive on average just under $12,000 annually -- yet these Social Security checks represent 67 percent of women's total retirement income (compared to 56 percent of men's).

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Why do women rely so heavily on Social Security? A lifetime of sex-based wage discrimination is a big factor. With women paid on average just 77 cents for every dollar men are paid, many women find it difficult to save for retirement. Additionally, less than a third of women work in jobs that provide pensions, and many take years out of the paid workforce to care for children or other family members.

It's even worse for women of color, with African- American women paid about 68 cents and Latinas only 59 cents on a man's dollar. Recent studies have shown that nearly half of all single African-American women and Latinas have zero or negative wealth, and many arrive at their retirement years dependent on Social Security for all or most of their income.

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The United States is facing a devastating retirement crisis, with the disappearance of pensions, the loss of value in savings and 401(k) plans, the decline in home values and massive foreclosures combined with serious shortfalls in state and local government pensions.

Slashing what may be the only retirement income available to millions is just plain cruel. And it will likely send countless women into poverty.

Instead, our leaders should be working to strengthen this crucial program -- by improving benefits for women who have worked a lifetime at unequal pay rates, caregivers, and women who are outliving their retirement savings.

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So, why is Social Security under attack? First, let's debunk the Three Big Lies used to push for Social Security cuts:

  • Lie #1: "We must cut Social Security to reduce the federal deficit." The truth is that Social Security is a separate program funded by payroll taxes and prohibited from borrowing from other government funds, so it does not contribute to the budget deficit.

  • Lie #2: "Social Security is going broke." Honestly, if no changes were made to the system, it could pay 100 percent of benefits through at least 2037. And we can achieve full solvency for the next 75 years and beyond by simply scrapping the current $106,800 cap on wages subject to the payroll tax.

  • Lie #3: "We must raise the retirement age because people are living longer." In fact, women's life expectancy has stagnated over the past 30 years, and it's actually decreased for low-income women, many of whom work physically demanding jobs that force them to retire sooner.

The real motive is simple: Wall Street's financial "wizards" -- you know, the ones who brought us the disastrous economic crisis we're still trying to dig our way out of -- want to get their hands on our money. They can't resist the thought of commandeering all that payroll loot, which is why we have to fend off these attempted muggings every couple years.

Wall Street and its cronies in government hope to catch us off guard one of these days -- and with the media basically repeating their spin, the Social Security bandits are confident that day has finally arrived. Let's show them they're wrong!

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