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Seniors Beware!

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Lawrence HunterLawrence A. Hunter, Ph.D., president of the Social Security Institute and of the Alliance for Retirement Prosperity and previously served as Republican staff director for the Joint Economic Committee, writes in Roll Call:

Reports from inside Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform — what one wag called “18 unrepresentative, inordinately wealthy individuals meeting regularly in secret behind closed doors, until safely beyond this year’s midterm election” — reveal that Social Security is on the chopping block. Several Republicans on the commission have indicated their eagerness to go along with these plans to cut Social Security, which could be shoved to the top of the agenda of the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress.

According to news reports, one Republican member of Obama’s deficit commission, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), said, “Democrats are kidding themselves if they believe Social Security will be preserved without major benefit cuts,” and he repeated the line disseminated by the conservative wonk network, which has become a mantra inside the GOP establishment: “Social Security benefits will have to be cut 24 percent in the coming decades, as the baby-boom bulge of retirees outstrips funding.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) also has said he supports raising the retirement age and other reforms.

The Republican Party appears to have been intimidated into embracing drastic Social Security cuts both as a means of eliminating the program’s long-run actuarial deficit and reducing the federal deficit — “bending the Social Security cost curve down” right onto the backs of seniors. That is why seniors and baby boomers would be well-advised right now, before the election, to demand that the Republican Party commit itself unequivocally to taking Social Security and Medicare off the chopping block before voters hand the GOP a mandate to cut a deal with the Obama administration.

The Alliance for Retirement Prosperity has asked all Members of Congress and candidates for Congress to sign a pledge committing to oppose any cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Seniors, are really sure you want to vote in all those new Republicans?


Written by Valerie Curl

October 19, 2010 at 9:48 AM

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