Press Release

August 11, 2011
CARDIN: PROTECTING SENIORS’ ‘SAFETY NETS’ IS IMPORTANT

Social Security will reach its 76th anniversary Sunday, so the Alliance for Retired Americans invited seniors at Council House to celebrate and be informed.

“This meeting is ‘Happy Birthday’ for Medicare and Social Security,” said Richard Fiesta, director of government and political affairs at Alliance for Retired Americans. “It’s part of a campaign on part of both our organization and the Alliance for Retired Americans to ensure that Social Security and Medicare stay on the top burner so that people will understand how important they are and help us advocate for keeping them secure.”

The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national group consisting of 4 million members. The organization’s chapter in Maryland is very active and many of their members are residents of Council House.

Sen.Benjamin L. Cardin, keynote speaker for this event, attended in order to “address the Alliance for Retired Americans about the recently enacted budget compromise that raised the debt ceiling and saved the nation from default.”

In a press release from the senator’s office, Cardin said the budget deal “protects the social security, Medicare and Medicaid of retirees.”

When asked to explain his statement, Cardin said, “There are no cuts in Social Security and Medicare or Medicaid in the first round of the trillion dollar cuts that have already been agreed to, and our committees are going to work on appropriation bills.”

The senator wants to avoid sequestration which will “force automatic, across-the-board cuts.”

According to Cardin’s website www.cardin.senate.gov, “The sequestration will be similar to the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings trigger, and with interest savings, will make up the differential between the deficit reduction achieved by the joint committee and $1.2

trillion.”

The results, if this occurs, will not be favorable.

“The way that this trigger mechanism is put into the budget agreement is that half those cuts would go to our military, Department of Defense and half would be on the domestic side,” Cardin said. “We don’t want it to happen, but at least it’s balanced.”

Concerning the $1.2 trillion, Cardin said, “If the joint committee is unable to reach an agreement, we don’t know what their agreement would be, the automatic across-the-board cuts would not apply to Social Security, would not apply to Medicaid, would not apply to any of our low-income programs and would not apply to Medicare beneficiaries.”

Cardin acknowledged that no one liked the way this budget agreement was done. However, he’s mindful of his priorities.

“The important point now is to protect, particularly our seniors and those who depend upon the government programs as safety nets,” Cardin said. “And to make sure we’re there for them.”

Social Security is one of the nation’s most successful programs as it is privately funded by employers and workers and will continue to be a program people can count on, Fiesta said.

“It’s been here for 76 years going strong, and we intend to keep it that way,” he said.

Social Security is not the only one celebrating a birthday in August.

“I’ve got a birthday this month, I’ll be 77-years-old,” said Thomas Young, a retired federal employee who now resides at Council House. “I’ve been around a long while, and I’ve always understood the necessity and quality of Social Security.”

Young has his own hopes for the political future of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“I think all of the politicians need to look more at the root causes of all of these problems and work more with that rather than trying to solve them after they’re developed,” he said.