Senior League Flatly Opposes Social Security Cuts for Those 50+, But Cites Alternatives
Proposals include raising payroll tax cap, raising retirement age, adding public workers
July 18, 2011 The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) makes clear its opposition to benefit cuts in Social Security that
would impact any Americans age 50 or older, but says there are alternatives to reduce the budget in less painful ways.
The most likely deficit reduction proposals, however, are also the most harmful to the nation's elderly, according to a
TSCL news release.
TSCL claims to be one of the nation's largest nonpartisan senior citizens advocacy groups.
Some of the most talked-about plans using a "chained" consumer price index to calculate annual cost-of-living
adjustments, cutting the payroll tax, and reducing benefits for people who are currently retired or nearing retirement would devastate many
of the most vulnerable seniors, the group says.
The less painful alternatives are:
● bringing new state and local workers into the Social Security system,
● gradually raising the payroll tax cap to its originally intended level, and
● raising the retirement age.
1. Cutting Benefits for Current Retirees or Any Americans Over Age 50: Many current retirees are already
struggling financially, and people need adequate time to plan and prepare for changes to something as important as Social Security.
2. Unrealistic Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (COLAs): COLAs are already inadequate: Seniors have lost almost
one-third of their buying power since 2000, according to a recent TSCL study. In that period, COLAs increased just 31 percent, while typical
senior expenses jumped 73 percent, more than twice as fast. There is talk of using a "chained" CPI to calculate COLAs. But the spending
patterns assumed by the "chained" CPI don't apply as well to seniors, who spend a larger percentage of their income on necessities that aren't
as conducive to substitution. Billed as a mere "technical correction," a TSCL analysis shows that using a "chained" CPI to calculate COLAs
would in fact slash payments by more than $18,000 over a 25-year retirement (for a senior with average benefits retiring this year).
3. Extending The Payroll Tax Cuts: Employees' Social Security payroll taxes were reduced by 2 to 4.2 percent in
December. Because it makes the Social Security trust funds reliant on general revenues, it would jeopardize the Administration's ability to
fully pay Social Security benefits now, especially as we approach the August 2nd debt limit.
The three proposals TSCL favors
1. Bringing Newly Hired State and Local Workers Into The Social Security System: Currently 96 percent of U.S.
workers are covered by Social Security; most of the remaining four percent are covered by federal, state and local pension plans and do not
contribute to Social Security. Bringing newly hired state and local workers into the system by 2021 would make Social Security more inclusive
and increase its revenues. This proposal would close about eight percent of the program's 75-year shortfall.
2. Gradually Raising the Payroll Tax Cap: The payroll tax cap has not kept pace with changing income patterns over
the past few decades, so it makes sense to adjust the maximum taxable wages to realign them with the originally intended level. Gradually
raising the cap to cover 90 percent of the nation's taxable earnings by 2050 would allow it to once again represent the same percentage of
that figure that it did as recently as the early 1980s (before the income of top earners began increasing disproportionately).
3. Raising the Retirement Age: People are living longer now, and gradually raising the retirement age would bring Social
Security benefits in line with this new reality. This would close between 15 and 21 percent of the program's long-term shortfall. We would not
support any proposal that would cut the benefits of today's beneficiaries.
"The combination of lower benefits and higher expenses in recent years means many more seniors are already struggling to
make ends meet," said Larry Hyland, chairman of The Senior Citizens League.
"We agree that Social Security must be reformed in order to make it sustainable. But let's do it in a thoughtful way, so
seniors who worked hard and paid their dues aren't suddenly thrown to the wolves.
We already have members telling us about elderly friends who are foregoing cancer treatments because they can't afford
them and don't want to saddle their surviving spouse with the bills; for such folks, some of the reform proposals would simply be too much to
He points out that almost 70 percent of beneficiaries depend on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income.
Social Security is the sole source of income for 15 percent of beneficiaries.
Given the importance, changes to Social Security should ideally be made only after a full and open debate, separate from
the debt limit negotiations. Any changes should be kept as small as possible and phased in over the longest possible period, and they should
not affect people who are currently over 50 years of age, concludes the news release.
With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League claims to be one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors
groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as
U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is an affiliate of
The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit www.SeniorsLeague.org or call
1-800-333-8725 for more information
Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners
You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.
In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.
They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.
If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.
Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...