A message from John Pernorio, President of the Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans
Today, August 14, 2012, Social Se curity celebrates its 77th birthday. Before Social Security, seniors worked until the day they died because they could never afford to retire. This week, retirees across the country celebrate the program that they contribute to in their working years and can rely on for modest benefits when they need it most. The program is more important than ever with the decline of defined-benefit pensions, plummeting 401ks and scanty savings.
I get upset when I hear politicians or TV commentators talk about how we should cut Social Security benefits. Politicians have talked for a long time about turning Social Security over to Wall Street, cutting benefits and raising the retirement age. Easy for them to say – maybe they have trust funds that the rest of us don’t.
As a retired Teamster, it bothers me when people think that Social Security is a hand-out or a give-away. The truth is we paid for it every day we worked. I know how important Social Security is to our community. Social Security helps seniors, persons with disabilities, widows, and children who have lost a parent. For many of these people, I just don’t know how they would survive without Social Security.
Working men and women paid for their Social Security through taxes that came out of every pay check of their lives, so it has nothing to do with our budget deficit. Our government must honor its commitment to workers, and if we want to lower the deficit, let’s instead take away all those tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations.
What are my children and grandchildren going to do? They are having a hard time of it now, so what will it be like for them when they retire? They’ll definitely need Social Security, so let’s make sure the politicians don’t take it away.
Social Security is a smart, responsible way to prepare for your retirement. A small amount of money comes out of each paycheck, week after week, year after year. Then, when you retire, that money is there for you.
Not only does this make perfect sense, but it’s also something we have earned and deserve. I know we need to lower the budget deficit, but I think we should start with unnecessary corporate tax breaks people don’t need, and not the Social Security that we have worked hard for all our lives.
Some candidates have promoted the ideas of turning Social Security over to Wall Street through privatization, cutting benefits and raising the retirement age to 70. There are better ways to strengthen the Social Security Trust Fund that don’t compromise this important lifeline. And there are definitely better ways to lower our national deficit, which Social Security did not contribute to.