Pickets in 31 states slam Social Security cuts

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SEATTLE-Angry senior citizens and Social Security workers picketed Social Security Administration offices here and in 30 other states Wednesday, Mar. 2 to protest the $1.7 billion cut in the agency's funding proposed by the Republicans.

Members of the Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans picketed the downtown office building where Social Security claims are processed. They were joined by members of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, which represents SSA workers.

Will Parry, 91, founder of the Puget Sound retiree alliance, was not able to join the picket but he said by phone, "This is an issue where we need 'all hands on deck.' Every Social Security recipient has a stake in defeating this budget cut in the administration of Social Security."

He pointed out that Social Security in its 76 -has history has never added a dime to Federal deficits, yet the GOP continues to target it for benefit cuts, increases in the retirement age and outright privatization. Social Security is self-financing with all administrative costs paid from a 1.0 percent levy on contributions from beneficiaries. "Compare that one percent cost for administration of Social Security with the 20 percent that private insurance companies charge," Parry said. "For such a huge national program to be administered so cleanly and efficiently is incredible."

Don Owens, a spokesman for the Strengthen Social Security Campaign said from his office in Washington, D.C., that reports have come in from across the country that thousands have joined the picket lines in 31 states. "The largest have been in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore," he said. "But smaller actions have taken place in places like Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and New Mexico."

He said Social Security workers are joining the protests in an "unprecedented show of solidarity with Social Security beneficiaries, not for their own benefit. For millions of people, the Social Security office is their main interaction with the federal government. This is not government money. This is the people's money. They pay into Social Security. It's their benefits. No person or party should stand between them and the benefits they have earned."

He pointed out that Republicans always opposed Social Security since it was founded, when they falsely attacked it as "welfare." They continue the attack today "holding it hostage with the threat that Social Security will be cut" in the name of ending "wasteful" government spending.

"The Republicans were in the majority from 1994 until 2008, 14 years in which they presided over the most corrupt, wasteful government in history. Now the bill has come due and they want American workers to pay it," he said.

A report prepared by Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee titled, "How the GOP Budget Would Affect Social Security," reveals that "400,000 people nationwide would not have their retirement, survivors, and Medicare applications processed this year resulting in a large backlog of unprocessed retirement and survivor claims for the first time in SSA history."

The report adds, "290,000 people nationwide would not have their initial disability benefit applications processed, which means that disabled workers who already wait months for their applications to be processed will wait an average of 30 days longer."

The report provided estimates of the impact on Washington State if the officers were to shutter: "67,479 people would go to the Social Security office for help and find the lights off and the door locked; 44,560 people would call the Social Security office and get no answer."

Image: Stock photo of D.C. Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton speaking against Social Security cuts. Courtesy Talk Radio News Service // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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  • The wonderful state of Oklahoma is cutting SSI for all patients with Cancer, and Aids. Yet they brag about a caring spirit. Same on you Oklahoma for letting these people die. Why not take a good look at the abuse of Welfare and cut those folks off. Why are you giving State Bank Cards for women to get to give money to the baby daddies for alcholo and drugs. Be smart Oklahoma for a change...Stop being ignorant

    Posted by wane, 04/19/2011 5:44pm (3 years ago)

  • Wisconsinites thank you for your efforts to tell this important news... we are building a PEOPLES/NEWS/NETWORK that is committed to spreading the word about taking back this country for the good of the people....did I say NOW....thanx again...

    like us on DEFEND WISCONSIN the official interactive FB page of the uprisings..

    Posted by Bev Richey, 03/04/2011 1:59pm (3 years ago)

  • The trick is to defund agencies to the point that they can't function and get the people mad at the government and then the Republicans privatize social security or completely delete other agencies.
    Even the employees in these agencies have verbalized this plan and know what is happening. The mid point is to turn all communication into an impossible to manage phone system like they set up in Texas after firing 3000 social workers. They gave $89 million to the same guy who brought down Enron to set up an impossible phone system which ended cutting welfare, food stamps and other recipients off the system. Now they hired some new workers and with the economy so bad waiting 8 hours for your first interview is normal.
    Don't get disabled because after months without income and being ill you will 100% be refused (thanks Reagan)and then starts the appeals process which without paying a hefty part of what they owe you when you finally get your disability will go to lawyers. By now you will likely have lost your home and every nickel you ever had like me. They do this to the weakest and the least able to fight back. What a country! Keep fighting!

    Posted by Viviana, 03/03/2011 5:52pm (3 years ago)

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