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Women and Social Security Alert No. 34

The Women and Social Security Email Alert produced by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) provides women-oriented information on and analysis of proposed changes in Social Security, up-to-date developments in the debate, and current research and statistics. The alert also includes announcements of key activities on Social Security, especially those of special interest to women. This e-mail alert is part of IWPR's mission to keep women's concerns at the center of current policy debates.

ITEMS IN THIS ALERT

In the News

  • The Budget Proposals of President Obama and the House
  • Democratic Lawmakers Split Over Social Security in Deficit Debate
Press Conference
  • Press Conference to Defend Social Security
New Research
  • National Women's Law Center Fact Sheet: Women and Social Security: Key Facts
  • National Women's Law Center: State-by-State Factsheets: GOP Spending Plan Slashes Services for Women
  • CEPR: The Potential Savings to Social Security from Means Testing
  • Century Foundation: Ten Reason Not to Cut Social Security Benefits
  • CBPP: Bowles-Simpson Social Security Proposal Not a Good Starting Point for Reforms: Relies Far Too Much on Benefit Cuts, Makes Other Problematic Changes
  • NASI: Social Security Benefits, Finances, and Policy Options: A Primer
Action Alerts
  • Democracy for Action Story Collection Campaign
  • NOW's Petition to President Obama
  • Strengthen Social Security Campaign's Hands Off Social Security Pledge
  • MoveOn.org's Tax Day Call for Action

 

IN THE NEWS

The Budget Proposals of President Obama and the House


In February, President Obama and the U.S. House of Representatives presented their budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2012. Regarding Social Security, both proposals make no changes to Social Security benefits. Obama's proposal recognizes that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit or debt and is not facing immediate crisis. Additionally, H.R. 1, the House's proposal, cuts funding to the Social Security Administration, which is predicted to cause various delays in administering the program.

 

Democratic Lawmakers Split Over Social Security in Deficit Debate


A March 24 article by Lori Montgomery reports that, in the recent momentum to reduce the federal deficit, Democratic lawmakers are split over whether to cut Social Security benefits, despite Democrats' traditional support of the program. While Montgomery mostly reported on the politics of Social Security, her portrayal of the policy itself and its long-term finances was incomplete. IWPR's Social Security Media Watch Project picked up on and corrected her errors here.

 

PRESS CONFERENCE

Successful Press Conference to Defend Social Security

Monday, March 28th
12:30pm
Senate Dirksen G50

Today a major press conference on defending Social Security featured Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senators Tom Harkin, Bernie Sanders, Al Franken and Richard Blumenthal. The purpose of the press conference was to raise awareness about the Sanders/Reid Social Security Protection Amendment that proclaims that Social Security should not be cut or privatized. The event attracted more than 200 people and dozens of media representatives. It also featured first-hand accounts of those relying on Social Security for themselves or a family member to get by, including Senator Harkin's story of how his widowed father relied on Social Security when Senator Harkin was a child to support himself, Tom, and his two brothers. Please find more information on the event here.

NEW RESEARCH

National Women's Law Center: State-by-State Factsheets: GOP Spending Plan Slashes Services for Women


Released in March, these factsheets show the impact on women and families of H.R. 1, the House spending plan, in each state. This proposal cuts the Social Security Administration's funding, which is predicted to cause delays in the administration of the program. In House Republican Spending Cuts in H.R. 1 Devastating To women, families and the Economy, the National Women's Law Center summarizes H.R. 1. and its effect on Women and Families.


CEPR: The Potential Savings to Social Security from Means Testing


In this March 2011 report, Dean Baker and Hye Jin Rho show that the potential savings from means testing Social Security are likely very small, unless the middle-income workers are made subject to means testing. The portion of benefits that affluent seniors receive is too small to make a significant difference when subjected to a means test.


Century Foundation: Ten Reason Not to Cut Social Security Benefits


In light of the current threats in Congress to cut Social Security, this February 2011 piece by Greg Anrig lists the main reasons Social Security should be protected. They include: Social Security does not contribute to the federal deficit or debt; Compared to other countries, Social Security is a modest retirement insurance system; Social Security's modest benefits are already planned to be cut; Private pension systems are unreliable.


CBPP: Bowles-Simpson Social Security Proposal Not a Good Starting Point for Reforms: Relies Far Too Much on Benefit Cuts, Makes Other Problematic Changes


This February 2011 report by Kathy A. Ruffing and Paul N. Van de Water argues that the Bowles-Simpson proposal offers a poor blueprint for Social Security reform because, among other reasons explained in the report, it cuts benefits too much and hurts too many low- and middle-income workers.


NASI: Social Security Benefits, Finances, and Policy Options: A Primer


Released in February 2011, these slides provide a succinct overview of Social Security including its purpose, its benefits and who are its beneficiaries, its funding mechanism and financial outlook, and ways to strengthen it.

 

ACTION ALERTS

Democracy for America Story Collection Campaign


Democracy for America is collecting individuals' stories about how Social Security affects their lives for the purpose of building a database of anecdotes that can be used to advocate for the program. To share your story, click here.


NOW's Petition to President Obama


Click here to sign NOW's petition urging President Obama to protect and strengthen Social Security.


Strengthen Social Security Campaign's Hands Off Social Security Pledge


The Senate could vote next week on the Social Security Protection Amendment, which states that Social Security benefits should not be cut or privatized. Sign up to receive a reminder on March 29th to call your Senator in support of this amendment.


MoveOn.org's Tax Day Call for Action


You might want to look into MoveOn's call for action. In the wake of news reports on how a very profitable GE paid no federal income taxes in 2009, MoveOn and others are calling for real shared sacrifice and having those corporations that benefited the most in the past few years pay their fair share. As Senator Sanders has said, the shared sacrifice cannot be exclusively on the backs of the poor and vulnerable. To learn more and add your name in support of MoveOn.org's Call for Action to tell legislators and wealthy corporations and millionaires on April 18th, Tax Day, to pay their fair share of taxes and to stop giving the rich tax breaks, click here.

 

In January 2005, just as the debate on Social Security reform was getting underway, we launched the IWPR Women and Social Security Alert (WomenSSA). According to the positive feedback we received from you – our colleagues, our members, and advocates on this issue – this special alert system has proven to be a comprehensive resource in helping you to stay at the forefront of this topic and its effect on women. Please help us continue to produce this beneficial resource by contributing to our special Women and Social Security Alert Fund today! With your help, we will ensure the continued distribution of this important information on Social Security reform and those most affected – women. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE NOW!


Women and Social Security Alert
Institute for Women's Policy Research

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