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Letter to White House

Letter to White House

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Published by nationaljournal
Letter to White House
Letter to White House

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Published by: nationaljournal on Mar 21, 2013
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03/21/2013

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 March 20, 2013President Barack ObamaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20500Dear Mr. President:During our November 12, 2012 meeting at the White House with organizations representinglabor unions and seniors, you clearly stated that you would not support including Social Security benefit cuts in a budget agreement to replace the “fiscal cliff.”Moreover, in your January 21 inauguration address, you said: “The commitments we make toeach other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take therisks that make this country great.” Few have said it so eloquently.However, these words have been contradicted by statements made in recent months that both thechained CPI and Medicare means testing remain a part of your deficit reduction proposal. The“chained CPI” is not a “technical tweak,” and no amount of rationalization can make it so. Inreality, the chained CPI is a benefit cut for the oldest and most vulnerable Americans who would be least able to afford it. To offer to trade it away outside the context of a comprehensive SocialSecurity solvency proposal ignores the fact that Social Security does not even belong in thisdebate because it does not contribute to the deficit. Cutting Social Security benefits to reduce thedeficit is unacceptable to the vast majority of Americans across all ages and political affiliation.Likewise, we are concerned about proposals to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67and to increase the Social Security full retirement age from 67 to 69. Contrary to popular belief,not everyone is living longer or is able to work into their late 60s. While life expectancy hasrisen six years in the top half of income earners, workers in the bottom half have only gained 1.3years. What is more, the bottom 40 percent of income earners depend on Social Security for nearly 90 percent of their total income. Benefit cuts through the chained CPI and delayingaccess to Medicare for millions of Americans would harm seniors, people with disabilities andchildren; and have a disproportionately negative affect on women and communities of color.When taken together, these benefit cuts will generate a tsunami of seniors living in poverty. Asyou said during your inaugural address, we don’t want to return to a time “when twilight yearswere spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.”

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