Tag Archive | social security

Older Americans Month 2013

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The month of May has long been recognized as Older Americans Month.A meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens resulted in President John F. Kennedy designating May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month, encouraging the nation to pay tribute to older people across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation changed the name to Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate those 65 and older through ceremonies, events and public recognition.

In the United States, there has been a notable increase in the number of Americans over the age of sixty-five (65) and this trend is expected to continue. Research data indicates that there has been an increase of 4.3 million person increase in the number of Americans over the age of sixty-five (65) from 1999-2009. In recognition of the contributions that older Americans have made and continue to make in their families and communities, on April 29th, 2011, May was declared Older Americans Month by President Barack Obama. Let’s take a look at a profile of older Americans created by the United States Administration on Aging (AoA) from the most recent research data. The Administration on Aging’s profile on older Americans includes but is not limited to a breakdown of their: gender, average life expectancy, marital status, and income.

A Profile of Older Americans: 2010

Highlights*
• The older population (65+) numbered 39.6 million in 2009, an increase of 4.3 million or 12.5% since 1999.
• The number of Americans aged 45-64 – who will reach 65 over the next two decades – increased by 26% during this decade.
• Over one in every eight, or 12.9%, of the population is an older American.
• Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.6 years (19.9 years for females and 17.2 years for males).
• Older women outnumber older men at 22.7 million older women to 16.8 million older men.
• In 2009, 19.9% of persons 65+ were minorities–8.3% were African-Americans.** Persons of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) represented 7.0% of the older population. About 3.4% were Asian or Pacific Islander,** and less than 1% were American Indian or Native Alaskan.** In addition, 0.6% of persons 65+ identified themselves as being of two or more races.
• Older men were much more likely to be married than older women–72% of men vs. 42% of women (Figure 2). 42% older women in 2009 were widows.
• About 30% (11.3 million) of noninstitutionalized older persons live alone (8.3 million women, 3.0 million men).
• Half of older women (49%) age 75+ live alone.
• About 475,000 grandparents aged 65 or more had the primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.
• The population 65 and over will increase from 35 million in 2000 to 40 million in 2010 (a 15% increase) and then to 55 million in 2020 (a 36% increase for that decade).
• The 85+ population is projected to increase from 4.2 million in 2000 to 5.7 million in 2010 (a 36% increase) and then to 6.6 million in 2020 (a 15% increase for that decade).
• Minority populations are projected to increase from 5.7 million in 2000 (16.3% of the elderly population) to 8.0 million in 2010 (20.1% of the elderly) and then to 12.9 million in 2020 (23.6% of the elderly).
• The median income of older persons in 2009 was $25,877 for males and $15,282 for females. Median money income (after adjusting for inflation) of all households headed by older people rose 5.8% (statistically significant) from 2008 to 2009. Households containing families headed by persons 65+ reported a median income in 2009 of $43,702.
• The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2008 were Social Security (reported by 87% of older persons), income from assets (reported by 54%), private pensions (reported by 28%), government employee pensions (reported by 14%), and earnings (reported by 25%).
• Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 34% of beneficiaries in 2008 (21% of married couples and 43% of non-married beneficiaries).
• Almost 3.4 million elderly persons (8.9%) were below the poverty level in 2009. This poverty rate is statistically different from the poverty rate in 2008 (9.7%).
• About 11% (3.7 million) of older Medicare enrollees received personal care from a paid or unpaid source in 1999.

Sources: United States Administration on Aging which obtained its data for the profile from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Administration on Aging, the data included in the profile incorporates the latest data available but not all items are updated on an annual basis.

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Sequester…..?

American Flag

Question of the Day: Will a budget deal be reached in Washington or have Republican leaders decided to continue to hold the nation’s health and well-being hostage by failing to reach an agreement with Democrats on the budget?

Republicans led the charge to defeat a Democratic plan that would have eliminated the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts for the remainder of 2013, which the Congressional Budget Office has estimated would cost 750,000 jobs. As a result, some argue that Republicans are holding out for ransom demands in the form of benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Again, today, Senate Republicans refused to surrender their hostages (i.e. entitlements) and as a direct result according to many highly regarded economists such as Robert Reich the nation’s economy and working families can and will be greatly hurt by the upcoming Republican sequester.

What are your thoughts? Will a deal be reached? If so, what impact will the deal have on nation’s health and well-being?

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Source(s): Congressional Budget Office

The Fiscal Cliff: Help Protect Programs Children Depend On

To avoid the fiscal cliff, our elected officials are deciding on huge federal budget cuts. Programs that our nation’s poorest children and youth depend on are on the line. It has been reported that more than forty-nine (49) million Americans lack reliable access to the food. Childhood hunger is a growing reality in America. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of childhood hunger is a national travesty and for many a well-kept secret.

According to the USDA, over seventeen (17) million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii Twenty (20) percent or more of the child population in sixteen (16) states and D.C. are living in food insecure households.  The states of Arkansas twenty-four point four (24.4) percent and Texas twenty-three point three (24.3) percent have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food. (Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii

In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children twenty-one point three (21.3) percent, especially households with children headed by single women thirty-six point six (36.6) percent or single men twenty-seven point eight (27.8) percent, Black non-Hispanic households twenty-four point nine (24.9) percent and Hispanic households twenty-six point nine (26.9) percent. v

These heartbreaking facts about the prevalence and the face of hunger in America and the proposed cuts to very necessary social service programs has drawn the attention of thousands of Christians, people of other faiths, heads of denominations, corporations, and nonprofit organizations and compelled them to take action. Will you join them and urge our elected officials to protect the programs poor children need[i] to succeed?

Everything from Pell Grants to food stamps could be cut by the Super Committee. At the same time, the very wealthiest citizens in our nation continue to enjoy tax breaks while working families continue to struggle with high unemployment. More than one (1) in five (5) children lives in poverty and nearly one (1) in four (4) is at risk of hunger. Now is the time to speak up for children, youth, and families in crisis. Please join me in telling the members of the Super Committee to safeguard programs that the most vulnerable members of our society depend on particularly, in this very challenging economic period.

When you contact members of Congress, your voice will be added to thousands calling on Congress to protect programs and services that benefit children, youth, and families in crisis. Please remind your elcted officials in Washington that everyone deserves a chance.

Thank for you for lending your voice to support necessary programs and services for children.

Source(s): Voices for Americas Children. USDA. Bread for the World Action Alert. Rhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010. Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008. Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States:2006-2008. Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.

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[i] Very necessary programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, Head Start, child care, and more need your help.

iiBread for the World Action Alert.

iiRhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.

iiiNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of

Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.

iv Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States:2006-2008.

vNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.

Congressman Paul Ryan For U.S. Vice-President: Good or Bad Choice?

What does a Romney-Ryan future for working families look like? Well, lets start by looking at Congressman Ryan’s Budget Plan passed by the Republican dominated U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Ryan entitled his budget plan “The Path to Prosperity,” which opponents refer to as the “Road to Ruin”. When reviewing the Ryan Budget Plan, opponents ask the Romney-Ryan ticket, Haven’t you learned trickle down economics did not and will not work? Many assert that Congressman Ryan’s Budget Plan gives us great insight into what the future of working families would look like under President Romney.

Since Mitt Romney’s announcement of his running mate for the 2012 Presidential Election this weekend, the Democrats and others have been carefully reviewing Paul Ryan’s voting record in Congress for the last fourteen years. Both fiscal conservatives and Democrats are pleased with Governor Romney’s selection of Congressman Ryan as his running mate but for very different reasons.

After Governor Romney’s running mate announcement, Romney has made headlines and donations have poured in from all over the country. Congressman Paul Ryan’s selection as Romney’s running mate has drawn a clear distinction between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney’s vision of the road to financial recovery for our nation.

Many people have asked after reviewing the Ryan Budget Plan where is the shared sacrifice? Independent economists have reported that the Ryan Budget is not a pro-growth document. In fact, economist warn that under the Ryan Plan that we, as a nation, would lose over a million jobs.

In Donna Jablonski’s  recent article she asks the question, Do you remember the budget plan written by vice presidential contender Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), entitled “The Path to Prosperity,” which opponents refer to as the “Road to Ruin”. Ryan’s Budget Plan gives voters a great insight into the Romney-Ryan tickets position on issues important to working families.

In case we have forgotten what was in the Ryan Budget Plan, Jablonski provides us with a reminder of the impact of the Plan on working families. According to Jablonski, the list of consequences from the Ryan Budget Plan which appears below is drawn from works which were prepared by the Center for American Progress[i].  The Center for American Progress’ work indicates that the Ryan Budget Plan if enacted would do the following:

1. “It caters to the 1%.

Ryan’s proposed tax cuts for the rich are larger than the windfall they received from former President George W. Bush.”

2. “It ends Medicare as we know it.

The budget would move toward a privatization of Medicare…and anyone new to the Medicare program could see costs rise by nearly $6,000 by 2050.”

3. “It eliminates the health care safety net.

The budget would cost 47 million people their health insurance benefits over the next decade.”

4. “It increases unemployment.

The House budget seeks to balance the deficit on the backs of unemployed Americans, whose ranks would increase under the plan.”

5. “It threatens our economic competitiveness.

The plan slashes $871 billion from government investments in education, job training, scientific research and transportation infrastructure over the next decade.”

6. “It showers money on Big Oil.

The budget would continue to shower oil companies with $40 billion in tax breaks over 10 years.”

7. “It devastates Social Security.

The House budget would cut Social Security benefits for most recipients, while giving the wealthy a windfall.”

8. “It shortchanges K–12 education.

The budget proposal lumps spending on education, social programs and training into a category targeted with a 20 percent cut.”

9. “It shortchanges higher education.

Low-income and middle-class students…may find it harder to get financial aid: The budget proposes big cuts to the Pell Grant program.”

10. “It ignores the wishes of the American people.

About two-thirds of Americans think the rich should pay higher taxes. And 70 percent believe Medicare should continue operating as it does currently….The plan ignores the will of the people, favoring the wealthy while ending Medicare as we know it.”

When discussing his budget plan, Congressman Ryan said his budget focused on cutting spending rather than raising revenue because “spending’s the problem.” If government spending continues to grow, he said, “You’ll end up shutting down the American dream, the American economy.”

By a partisan vote of 228 to 191, the House passed Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which as you can see calls for steep spending limits and dramatic changes to Medicare. Ten Republicans voted against the bill, and no Democrats voted for it.

It is very important for the electorate to know the candidates’ positions on key issues confronting working families in the 2012 Presidential Race.  Romney’s selection of Ryan as his running mate for the 2012 presidential election highlights that this race is all about choices.  Choices about whether we, as a nation, will invest in good jobs under President Obama or give tax breaks to rich Americans and large corporations under Mitt Romney. Choices about investing in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, good schools, and higher education or whether we have decided to turn back the clock and repeat the policies that caused the crisis we are currently confronting.

With that said, nowhere are these choices more glaring than in Mitt Romney’s recent selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. If Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan win the White House in 2012, millions of working families, seniors, people with disabilities and children could loose their social insurance (i.e. Medicare, etc.).

As stated in the Huffington Post, even, “David Stockman, a former budget director under President Ronald Reagan, derided the budget plan of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick in an op-ed in The New York Times Tuesday.” “Mr. Ryan’s sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to ‘job creators’ (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse,” “Stockman wrote in the op-ed, later adding: “Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices.”

Sources: AFL-CIO Action Alert, 08/13/2012, “What’s Wrong with Paul Ryan?” , Donna Jablonski, Political Action/Legislation. Stephanie Condon, CBSNews.com., March 29, 2012. www.americanprogress.org. Huffington Post Business Brief, “Ex-Reagan Budget Director: Ryan Budget ‘Is Devoid Of Credible Math Or Hard Policy Choices'”, 8/14/2012. SEUI Action Alert, 08/14/2012. “Koch brothers have Paul Ryan’s back,” Politico, August 11, 2012 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278940&id=48818-18765278-9EQdIFx&t=17

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[i] The Center for American Progress (CAP) is an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action.

Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, their work addresses 21st-century challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care.

The Center for American Progress develops new policy ideas, critique the policy that stems from conservative values, challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter, and shape the national debate.

Founded in 2003 by John Podesta to provide long-term leadership and support to the progressive movement, CAP is headed by Neera Tanden and based in Washington, D.C.

CALL CONGRESS AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR WORKING FAMILIES

 

Tell your members of congress that you care about working families and so should they. As you have seen with the on-going federal budget battles, essential programs for low-income and vulnerable people are threatened with cuts:  Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP/food stamps, and unemployment benefits. These cuts will make things worse, not better. Countless families will be hurt by cuts in these very necessary programs for low and moderate income person. Additionally, more jobs will be lost in a period of record unemployment.

As I have indicated in my blog posts on the economy, our nation needs a prudent economic plan that will put us on the right track by investing in jobs, protecting low income people, sharing the burden by asking top-income households and profitable corporations to contribute more revenue, and reducing waste elsewhere. It is apparent from the raging federal budget discussions in order for that to occur our US Senators and US Representatives need to hear from us that there must be “shared sacrifice”. Toward that goal, 9 to 5 prepared a simple script on how to reach and speak with your congress persons about saving very necessary programs for families which is provided below.

1. “
To reach your members of congress you can dial this toll-free number:  1-888-907-1485.

2. Follow the instructions and you’ll be connected to your Senators and Rep. Here’s a message you can use:

Hi, my name is ____ and I am from (city, state). 

  • I know that a Select Committee is working on a plan to reduce the federal deficit.  No plan can work if it does not protect Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance and other basic safety net programs. 
  • And it must create jobs. The plan must have increase revenue from upper-income households and profitable corporations, and savings from cutting unneeded military spending. 
  • I urge [Rep or Senator ___] to work with the Select Committee to develop such a plan, and to reject proposals that harm the poor and stall economic recovery.

It’s easy to think of a million reasons why you don’t want to call.  You may think they don’t pay attention.  But they do – when people showed up in town meetings across the country this summer insisting that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security be protected, and some cuts were beaten back.  But they’re not done – and neither are those who are using the deficit as an excuse to slash services and shrink government.

So please join people of faith, service providers, advocates for children and seniors, working and jobless people and call Congress on October 4 and 5: Toll-free number: 1-888-907-1485.

We need jobs!  We don’t want to hurt the most vulnerable.  Slashing funding for much needed services will put a slam on the brakes on our economic recovery. With fair revenues and military and other savings, we can reduce the deficit the right way.”

Source: Action Alert 9 to 5.

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Shared Sacrifice?

This is the third in a series of posts written on the topic of the “Public Good” and “Shared
Sacrifice”. We, as a nation, cannot address our long-standing fiscal challenges by cutting necessary programs and services for the most vulnerable members of our state such as WIC, SNAP, Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid while corporations receive tax breaks. Instead of cutting necessary program and services, we must raise taxes on corporations and the wealthiest members of society. There must be shared sacrifice.

In response the series of House budget proposals cutting programs for the most vulnerable members of our society, voters have called out to their elected officials in Washington, DC for “shared sacrifice” when looking at the federal budget. Voters are telephoning, emailing, faxing their elected officials in Washington, DC to ask that Congress cut the multi-billion dollar subsides to oil companies. Like the hard-working citizen’s in the United States, many voters assert that corporations and wealthy Americans must pay their fair share of the tax burden.

Corporations and the affluent members in our society maintain an army of lobbyist in Washington promoting their best interest. Their voice on taxes has been heard by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. On Friday evening, John Boehner, yet again, pulled out of negotiations for a compromise on a package that raises the debt ceiling and addresses the deficit. The New York Times reported that the Republican House speaker, John A. Boehner, said Friday that, “…he had broken off talks with President Obama on getting a budget deal to avert a government default. Mr. Boehner said that Mr. Obama wanted to raise taxes too high and won’t make fundamental changes to help programs such as Medicare.”

In response to the recent action taken by Speaker Boehner, progressive organizations have sent out action alerts to their members and supporters including but not limited to: the National, A National Catholics Social Justice Lobby, reminding them/us that like Congress this weekend we need to take action about the debt ceiling debate. In the National’s Action Alert, it reminds us/the reader that the default date is fast approaching and SOMEONE needs to get an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. It is imperative that this action is taken swiftly and citizen involvement is key to reaching an outcome that is in keeping with the “Public Good”.

As aptly stated in the action alert, it is imperative that persons concerned by the “Public
Good” let the President, House and Senate members know that any agreement reached
must include protections for low-income people. It is evident that, we, as a nation, cannot protect members of our communities who rely on programs such as Medicaid and nutrition assistance without increased revenues.    With that said, it is imperative that we tell Congress (that has sworn an oath to act in the “public good”) that this means that tax reform and protections for the poor must be included in any deal reached on the debt ceiling. The wealthiest among us who benefit most from our government must now be made to pay their fair share of the tax burden. Toward that goal, call the local offices of your members of Congress over the weekend.

If “shared sacrifice” is important to you, please call and/or write to your members of  Congress immediately. Tell them we cannot accept cuts to programs such as Medicare,
Medicaid, Social Security, nutrition assistance or affordable housing programs
(just to name a few) that would devastate people who are poor and vulnerable while affluent members and countless corporations in our nation will continue to get a free ride and not pay their fair share of taxes.

Get involved in the federal budget process—contact your elected officials in Washington, DC.  If you will be calling this weekend, you can find the phone numbers for your elected officials in Washington DC by going to www.networklobby.org.  If you are calling next week, you can call the Washington offices via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. If “shared sacrifice” is important to you then when speaking with your representatives you should indicate that she/he should Vote NO on any debt/deficit deal that does not protect low-income people and fails to raise revenues on the affluent and corporations.

Sources: The New York Times, Breaking News Alert, Friday, July 22, 2011 — 6:05 PM EDT. Action Alert: National, A National Catholics Social Justice Lobby.

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Older Americans Month


In the United States, there has been a notable increase in the number of Americans over the age of sixty-five (65) and this trend is expected to continue. Research data indicates that there has been an increase of 4.3 million person increase in the number of Americans over the age of sixty-five (65) from 1999-2009. In recognition of the contributions that older Americans have made and continue to make in their families and communities, on April 29th, 2011, May was declared Older Americans Month by President Barack Obama. Let’s take a look at a profile of older Americans created by the United States Administration on Aging (AoA) from the most recent research data. The Administration on Aging’s profile on older Americans includes but is not limited to a breakdown of their: gender, average life expectancy, marital status, and income.

A Profile of Older Americans: 2010

Highlights*
• The older population (65+) numbered 39.6 million in 2009, an increase of 4.3 million or 12.5% since 1999.
• The number of Americans aged 45-64 – who will reach 65 over the next two decades – increased by 26% during this decade.
• Over one in every eight, or 12.9%, of the population is an older American.
• Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.6 years (19.9 years for females and 17.2 years for males).
• Older women outnumber older men at 22.7 million older women to 16.8 million older men.
• In 2009, 19.9% of persons 65+ were minorities–8.3% were African-Americans.** Persons of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) represented 7.0% of the older population. About 3.4% were Asian or Pacific Islander,** and less than 1% were American Indian or Native Alaskan.** In addition, 0.6% of persons 65+ identified themselves as being of two or more races.
• Older men were much more likely to be married than older women–72% of men vs. 42% of women (Figure 2). 42% older women in 2009 were widows.
• About 30% (11.3 million) of noninstitutionalized older persons live alone (8.3 million women, 3.0 million men).
• Half of older women (49%) age 75+ live alone.
• About 475,000 grandparents aged 65 or more had the primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.
• The population 65 and over will increase from 35 million in 2000 to 40 million in 2010 (a 15% increase) and then to 55 million in 2020 (a 36% increase for that decade).
• The 85+ population is projected to increase from 4.2 million in 2000 to 5.7 million in 2010 (a 36% increase) and then to 6.6 million in 2020 (a 15% increase for that decade).
• Minority populations are projected to increase from 5.7 million in 2000 (16.3% of the elderly population) to 8.0 million in 2010 (20.1% of the elderly) and then to 12.9 million in 2020 (23.6% of the elderly).
• The median income of older persons in 2009 was $25,877 for males and $15,282 for females. Median money income (after adjusting for inflation) of all households headed by older people rose 5.8% (statistically significant) from 2008 to 2009. Households containing families headed by persons 65+ reported a median income in 2009 of $43,702.
• The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2008 were Social Security (reported by 87% of older persons), income from assets (reported by 54%), private pensions (reported by 28%), government employee pensions (reported by 14%), and earnings (reported by 25%).
• Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 34% of beneficiaries in 2008 (21% of married couples and 43% of non-married beneficiaries).
• Almost 3.4 million elderly persons (8.9%) were below the poverty level in 2009. This poverty rate is statistically different from the poverty rate in 2008 (9.7%).
• About 11% (3.7 million) of older Medicare enrollees received personal care from a paid or unpaid source in 1999.

Sources: United States Administration on Aging which obtained its data for the profile from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Administration on Aging, the data included in the profile incorporates the latest data available but not all items are updated on an annual basis.

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