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Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116
NOW Calls On President Obama to Reject Fiscal Commission's Assault on Social Security
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
WASHINGTON - November 11 - "Millions of women will be pushed into poverty and out of the middle class if preliminary recommendations for cutting Social Security benefits made by the National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform are adopted," NOW President Terry O'Neill says.
"Co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles have come up with a proposal that would move Social Security toward being a welfare program, rather than the guaranteed income security program it is designed to be," O'Neill says. "That's the opposite of what's needed. In fact, benefits need to be improved -- not cut -- for women. At a time when so many working families are struggling, the co-chairs' proposal is terrible policy. I hope we can count on the president to reject it out of hand."
The Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs' Proposal suggests increasing the payroll tax to capture 90 percent of wages by 2050. O'Neill says: "We should just scrap the cap on taxable income entirely right now, and increase benefits for all. That would ensure Social Security solvency far into the 21st century and provide for an economically secure retirement for all workers."
"Increasing the retirement age -- even though it is gradual -- is one of their worst ideas, O'Neill continued. "Millions of women and men who work at physically demanding jobs cannot work into their late 60's. For them, extending the retirement age will amount to a deep and cruel benefit cut."
"Strengthening everyone's income security should be a primary goal of this administration and of the new Congress. This past election was a clear demonstration that people are hurting because of the recession's effect on employment, housing values, and savings. Undermining Social Security is absolutely the wrong way to go," O'Neill said.
NOW calls upon President Obama to reject the Co-Chairs' Proposal and commit his administration to strengthening Social Security by scrapping the cap and increasing benefits for the hard-working people of this country.