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Women and Social Security Alert No. 31

October 2010; News on Republicans' Pledge to America and cuts to Social Security and Alan Simpson, plus new research from CEPR and the Carsey Institute, among others.

ITEMS IN THIS ALERT

In the News

  • Resolution in Senate and Letter in House Urging that Social Security Benefits Not Be Cut
  • Republicans' Pledge to America Signals Possible Intention to Cut Social Security
  • Call for Alan Simpson's Resignation by OWL and Other Groups

New Research

  • CEPR Report: Hard Work? Patterns in Physically Demanding Labor Among Older Workers
  • Carsey Institute Report: Older Americans Working More, Retiring Less
  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans Out of Poverty: A State-by-State Analysis
  • Economic Opportunity Institute Report: Social Security Works

Action Alerts

  • Retirement USA Wake-Up Washington Month
  • Urge Your Representatives to Sign the House Letter and Senate Resolution Not to Cut Social Security Benefits

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Resolution in Senate and Letter in House Urging that Social Security Benefits Not Be Cut

This September over 100 members of Congress signed a letter urging President Obama not to cut Social Security benefits. Spearheaded by Representative Raul Grijalva, the letter expresses their firm support for Social Security and their opposition to any sort of privatization of the program. 

Additionally, Senators Sanders and Brown introduced a resolution in the Senate explaining their opposition to raising the retirement age, privatization of the Social Security, or any other benefit cuts to Social Security.

 

Republicans' Pledge to America Signals Possible Intention to Cut Social Security

Released on September 23, the House Republican's Pledge to America contains the following statement: 
We will make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for todays seniors and future generations. That means requiring a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly, and preventing expansion of unfunded liabilities. (emphasis added.) 
Many commentators interpret this paragraph as signaling Republicans' agenda to cut SocialSecurity.

 

Call for Alan Simpson's Resignation by OWL and Other Groups

On August 24 Alan Simpson, co-chair of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, expressed sexism and contempt for Social Security in an email to Ashley Carson, the former Executive Director of the Older Women's League (OWL), in response to an April 27 blog she wrote for the Huffington Post. Most notably, Simpson accused Carson of, "babbling into the vapors about disgusting attempts at ageism and sexismand all the rest of that crap," implied that Carson cannot read graphs, and referred to SocialSecurity as "a milk cow with 310 million tits." The media attention was strong but the White House declined to ask Simpson to step down. Reactions can be found on the CAF and NOWwebsites.

 

NEW RESEARCH

 

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Report: Hard Work? Patterns in Physically Demanding Labor Among Older Workers

The Center for Economic and Policy Research released a report examining physically demanding jobs and jobs with difficult working conditions among old workers. In 2009, 35 percent of workers age 58 and older had physically demanding jobs, 27 percent had difficult working conditions, and 45 percent were employed in either kind of job. The study also found that in 2009 men, Latinos, immigrants, and the least educated and lowest paid are more likely to have such jobs. 

Set against the backdrop of proposals to raise the retirement age (the age of eligibility for full benefits), the report notes that such difficult jobs are a significant cause of early retirement, such that raising the retirement age could mean further penalizing these workers, since those who retire before the full retirement age receive reduced benefits. 

Social Security Sense and Nonsense

In this article, Paul N. Van de Water of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities offers a clear explanation of Social Security's funding mechanism. He explains how Social Security is fully funded through the payroll tax, how its trust funds have been built up in preparation for the retirement of the baby boomers, and how the Treasury securities in which the trust funds have been invested are equally as viable as all other US government bonds. 

Carsey Institute Report: Older Americans Working More, Retiring Less

The Carsey Institute released a report exploring patterns in the labor force participation of American workers age 65 and older by gender, educational attainment, marital status, andtype of residence (urban vs. rural). Of particular note, the study finds that the proportion of older Americans that are working is growing; now 22 percent of men and 13 percent of women aged 65 and older work. Moreover, of those who are employed, nearly half of men and over one-third of women work full-time, year-round. 

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans Out of Poverty: A State-by-State Analysis

According to a Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of 2008 Census data, SocialSecurity keeps 19.8 million Americans out of poverty. While most of those kept out of poverty by Social Security are age 65 and older, 1.1 million are children and 5.3 million are adults age 18 to 64. 

Economic Opportunity Institute ReportSocial Security Works

A new fact sheet from the Economic Opportunity Institute brings together basic information onSocial Security, including information on beneficiaries, the total amount of benefits, how it's funded, and its future.

ACTION ALERTS

Retirement USA Wake-Up Washington Month

September 15 through October 15 is "Wake-Up Washington" Month, an effort by Retirement USA to bring to the attention of policymakers the growing "retirement income deficit," the difference between what people need in retirement and what they have. 
Part of this campaign is an online story bank of individual's experiences in funding their retirement. To share your story, click here

Urge Your Representatives to Sign the House Letter and Senate Resolution Not to CutSocial Security Benefits

NOW has organized a letter-writing campaign to get more members of Congress to sign on. To send their letter (or a personalized letter) to your representatives, click here.

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