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Women and Social Security Alert No. 37

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

  • AARP backtracks on Social Security statements
  • Obama offers up Social Security cuts in debt negotiations
Upcoming and Recent Events
  • Demystifying Social Security: Academy for Interns 2011 (National Academy of Social Insurance)
  • National Council of Women’s Organization’s “Respect, Protect, Reject” Petition and Twitter Campaign
New Research
  • Institute for Women’s Policy Research factsheet: Six Key Facts on Women and Social Security
  • National Women’s Law Center fact sheet: One-Sided Budget Proposals Threaten Women and Families, Shield Millionaires and Corporations
  • National Women’s Law Center fact sheet: A Balanced Budget Amendment Would Threaten Social Security
  • National Women’s Law Center report: Cutting the Social Security COLA by Changing the Way Inflation Is Calculated Would Especially Hurt Women
  • Economic Policy Institute report: Why Spending Caps are Poor Policy: Understanding the Costs and Constraints of Capping Spending As a Share of the Economy
  • Economic Policy Institute policy memo: Unbalanced Budgeting: Federal Spending Cap May Endanger Social Security
  • National Academy of Social Insurance brief: Social Security Beneficiaries Face 19% Cut; New Revenue Can Restore Balance
Additional Action Alerts
  • National Organization for Women petition: Radical Budget Proposals Will Harm Economy and Hurt Women and Families
  • National Women’s Law Center petition: Tell President Obama: Stand Up for Women & Families in Budget Negotiations
  • Strengthen Social Security petition: Speaker Boehner, Strengthen Social Security…don’t cut it.
  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse petition: Stand firm against Social Security & Medicare benefit cuts
  • Moveon.org petition: Don’t Let them Cut Social Security
IN THE NEWS

AARP backtracks on Social Security statements

A Wall Street Journal article reporting that the AARP, the most powerful defender of seniors' interests, may be willing to concede on Social Security cuts caused a big stir last month. The organization responded with an official statement claiming it, as always, supports strengthening-not cutting-Social Security. Still, the episode has raised doubts about the AARP's commitment to protecting Social Security.

 

Obama offers up Social Security cuts in debt negotiations

In June, accordingt to EPI, the Obama Administration promised that slashing Social Security would not be considered as a part of a solution to the national debt. But, the President since stated that "nothing can be off limits" in the budget talks. On July 7, reports that Obama was planning to offer up cuts to Social Security in the debt negotiations prompted Congressional Democrats to make it clear that they will oppose any budget deal that includes cuts to Social Security and they urged President Obama to fight for a deal that keeps Social Security intact. Since then it has been reported that the president offered to raise the eligibility for Medicare to 67, a significant budget cut that many people also oppose.

 

UPCOMING AND RECENT EVENTS

Demystifying Social Security: Academy for Interns 2011 (National Academy of Social Insurance)

July 14, 2011
8:30am-3:30pm
Kaiser Family Foundation
Barbara Jordan Conference Center
1330 G Street, NW
Washington 20005

Please visit the event web page for more information or to register.

 

National Council of Women's Organization's "Respect, Protect, Reject" Petition and Twitter Campaign

Yesterday, the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) delivered a letter to the leaders of Congress demanding a budget deal that does not include cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) joined several prominent leaders from NCWO on a press call today to announce the launch of a nationwide campaign and public petition to express concern about cuts proposed to programs that women and families rely on.

The "Respect, Protect, Reject" campaign aims to highlight the vital importance of reaching a budget deal that will respect women's contributions to the economy and their need for economic security.

The budget cuts currently being proposed would be most harmful to those most vulnerable, including women and their families, low earners, and seniors. The average monthly Social Security check for women is about $1,000, and many retired women do not have any other source of income and exhaust their savings in later years.

Sign the "Respect, Protect, Reject" petition here. Want to take the campaign a step further? Tweet and retweet the campaigns tweet of the day: listed here.

NEW RESEARCH

Institute for Women's Policy Research factsheet: Six Key Facts on Women and Social Security

This fact sheet from the Institute for Women's Policy Research provides the most current statistics demonstrating why Social Security is so vital for women's economic security and how proposed changes to the program could adversely impact women.

 

National Women's Law Center fact sheet: One-Sided Budget Proposals Threaten Women and Families, Shield Millionaires and Corporations

This fact sheet by the National Women's Law Center examines how a global spending cap, especially if written into the Constitution as a Balanced Budget Amendment, would adversely impact programs such as Social Security which millions of people, and women in particular, depend on. After 10 years under the proposed global spending cap, cuts would reach 19 percent across-the-board. If the average women 65 years or older were to see her Social Security benefits slashed by 19 percent, her Social Security check would no longer be enough to keep her out of poverty. Meanwhile, a global spending cap would place no limits of tax cuts, leaving Congress free to enact costly tax breaks for millionaires and corporations.

 

National Women's Law Center fact sheet: A Balanced Budget Amendment Would Threaten Social Security

This fact sheet by the National Women's Law Center discusses how a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, even if the amendment did not include a global spending cap, would amount to a "giant raid on the Social Security Trust Fund". Even though Social Security is a self-funded social insurance program, the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment would treat Social Security like any other government program, requiring that spending each year not exceed revenues for that that year. The Social Security Trust Fund has built up a 2.6 trillion surplus in order to pay benefits to the large number of baby boomers entering retirement. But, a Balanced Budget Amendment would not allow this money to be used for this purpose, resulting in benefits cuts.

 

National Women's Law Center report: Cutting the Social Security COLA by Changing the Way Inflation Is Calculated Would Especially Hurt Women

This report by the National Women's Law Center demonstrates how calculating the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) using a the Chained-Consumer Price Index would amount to a benefit reduction for all current and future Social Security beneficiaries-and women in particular. The COLA is an adjustment for inflation made to Social Security benefits and is currently calculated using the CP1-W. Switching to the Chained-CPI, as has been proposed, would result in a benefits reduction of 0.3 percent starting at age 62 (regardless of whether one chooses to take early retirement) and would accumulate over time, with those who live until age 95 seeing a 9.2 percent reduction in their benefits. Because women live longer than men, they would be particularly affected by this cut in benefits.

 

Economic Policy Institute report: Why Spending Caps are Poor Policy: Understanding the Costs and Constraints of Capping Spending As a Share of the Economy

This briefing paper by the Economic Policy Institute examines the impact of the proposed Corker-McCaskill spending cap (also referred to as the CAP Act) for Social Security and other programs. They find that the Corker-McCaskill cap would result in $882 billion dollars in cuts to Social Security over 2013-2021. If Social Security and Medicaid were exempt from the cap, as some have proposed, this would mean even steeper cuts to other programs. Because the global spending cap would limit spending to a fixed percentage of GDP, recessions (such as the recent Great Recession) would trigger even deeper cuts just when Americans need these programs most.

 

Economic Policy Institute policy memo: Unbalanced Budgeting: Federal Spending Cap May Endanger Social Security

This policy memo by the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates that the CAP Act would be disastrous for Social Security, with impacts only getting worse in the long term. By 2045, Social Security would be cut by anywhere from 4 percent to as much as 83.5 percent, depending on other policy factors.

 

National Academy of Social Insurance brief: Social Security Beneficiaries Face 19% Cut; New Revenue Can Restore Balance

This brief by the National Academy of Social Insurance explains how changes to Social Security made in 1983 in order to prevent a projected financing shortfall resulted in benefits that are now 19 percent lower than they would have been otherwise. As Social Security now faces another shortfall, it is important to look at solutions other than further cutting already reduced benefits. The brief argues that improving benefits and increasing revenues is affordable, popular with the public, and can close Social Security's long-term financing shortfall without further benefit cuts.

 

Institute for Women's Policy Research report: Pension Crediting For Caregivers: Policies in Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan

This report looks at pension crediting for caregivers, credits awarded to people during times of unpaid caregiving work when little or no other pension contributions are made. It compares pension crediting for caregivers in seven countries to analyze how such use of crediting could achieve various policy goals.

 

ADDITIONAL ACTION ALERTS

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!

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