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Protesters: Keep Social Security Unchained

by Thomas MacMillan | Jul 2, 2013 5:10 pm

(5) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Breaking News, Politics

Thomas MacMillan Photo Manny Gomez worked for Winchester Repeating Arms for 44 years, paying into social security with each paycheck. Now at 84 he can’t afford to live off his social security check, he said. And he can’t afford a proposed change to calculating the federal retirement benefit.

Gomez (pictured) shared his story at a Tuesday afternoon protest on the Green. He joined several dozen others who linked arms to rally against proposed changes to the way the federal government calculates social security benefits.

The rally was organized by the AFL-CIO and the Alliance for Retired Americans. It was part of a nationwide day of protest with human chains being formed at rallies in a variety of locations.

People collecting social security currently receive a monthly check made out in an amount based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the market price of a range of basic consumer goods. President Obama has proposed switching to a “chained CPI,” a method of calculation that proponents say more accurately reflects quick changes in the actual cost of making ends meet, allowing social security to stay solvent. (Click here for a story detailing both sides of the debate on the issue.) Switching to a chained CPI would lower the expected rate of increase in future social security payments. Opponents say the change would will mean too little money for too many people.

The latter message was on display on the Green on Tuesday afternoon.

“We can’t afford cuts,” Gomez said. “It’s all right when you’ve got a whole lot of money in your pocket, but there are those of us who are struggling.”

Gomez said he works part time as a gate attendant at Southern Connecticut State University; he gets laid off in the summers.

Gomez said he needs the extra money for medicine and health care co-pays. Even at 84 years old, he can’t afford to fully retire, he said. “Still working. Can’t do otherwise.”

Gomez said social security payments are not handouts. “We’ve earned it.”

“We’re entitled, we’re entitled to get the money we put into it,” John Olsen (pictured), president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO announced to the crowd. He compared the situation to putting money into a bank and then not being able to take it out. “If we keep fighting, we’ll win.”

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have all come out against a switch to chained CPI.

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posted by: Bunker on July 2, 2013  6:45pm

You didn’t “put in” to social security, it was a tax and it was spent. Social security is not a retirement fund,44 years at the same company and all her relied upon was social security?

posted by: TheMadcap on July 2, 2013  11:25pm

Yes, people do just rely on SS, per the SS website
http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2012/fast_facts12.html

Social Security provided at least half the income for 65 percent of the aged beneficiaries in 2010

And that is for everyone. When you look at the bottom three income quintiles SS makes up the overwhelming amount of income for retired people.

posted by: Threefifths on July 2, 2013  11:47pm

posted by: Bunker on July 2, 2013 6:45pm
You didn’t “put in” to social security, it was a tax and it was spent. Social security is not a retirement fund,44 years at the same company and all her relied upon was social security?

I would relied more on social security,Then a 401K.

The Retirement Gamble | FRONTLINE | PBS

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/retirement-gamble/

posted by: Perspective on July 3, 2013  2:03pm

“We’re entitled, we’re entitled to get the money we put into it,” John Olsen (pictured), president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO announced to the crowd.

Unfortunately, social security is not a savings account by which you start making withdrawals.  Some get more than they paid into it and others less. Hence ‘socialized’ security.  So if someone dies should their heirs get the money they paid into the system? If you outlive what you paid into the system should you be cut off?Many people will never get back all the money they paid into the system due to life expectancy, life earnings, etc.

posted by: HenryCT on July 3, 2013  4:13pm

Social Security is an insurance fund. Those who pay in, most of us, are insured. Some put in more, some take out more. That’s typical of insurance. Car insurance, for example. If you are luck enough not to be in an accident or have your car stolen, you end up paying more than you get out. If you are in an accident and the insurance pays more than you have put in - well that’s the whole purpose of insurance.

Different people have different reasons for having to rely solely on Social Security in retirement. Being extravagant while in their working years is only one. Too low wages to be able to save. Being laid off, getting sick and having huge expenses, being injured, taking on family responsibilities bigger than income would allow.

Social Security has kept millions out of complete poverty. The point of the demonstration is to demand that it be strengthened not weakened. And to tell our elected officials that Social Security did not add one dime to the budget deficit. Therefore don’t even allow it to be brought into deficit conversation.

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