Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Mon, June 01

Protecting Social Security a priority

Almost everyone agrees that something must be done to strengthen Social Security. AARP will be among many waging the fight to ensure that the retirement security of older Americans is not needlessly put at risk.

AARP will oppose the creation of private accounts that take money out of Social Security. AARP believes taking some of the money that workers pay into Social Security and diverting it into newly created private accounts would weaken the system and put benefits for current and future generations at risk.

Currently, Social Security can pay promised benefits until the year 2042. While Social Security is strong now, the program needs some changes so it will be able to continue to pay full benefits for future generations of Americans.

The changes don’t have to be drastic, and the guarantee that Social Security provides, is one worth strengthening not replacing. But the only guarantee you can count on with private accounts is that they can lose money as fast as they can make it. Whatever your income level, a safety net is vital to protecting your retirement security.

In addition, private accounts carved out of Social Security may cost people more. Just to switch to this new system may require as much as $2 trillion and eventually would lead to benefit cuts, new taxes or more debt. Most of us would have to pay twice to gamble on this new plan—first to keep our commitments to current retirees and again to pay into these private accounts.

Social Security is only one pillar of a strong retirement plan. AARP encourages Americans to plan, save and invest for their retirement years. And that includes having access to affordable health care, including prescription drug coverage, as an essential part of a secure retirement.

Social Security is the dividing line between a life of dignity and a life of struggle for millions of middle class and low income older Americans. And we will not let this rock-solid guarantee be replaced with a risky gamble.

David Mitchell, AARP

Arizona State Director

Phoenix, Ariz.

Finds Republican action appalling

House Republicans have done something truly appalling. They’ve knocked down an ethics rule that banned House members from holding leadership positions if they’ve been indicted on felony charges.

They did it on behalf of House majority leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas). A number of his associates have already been indicted by a Texas grand jury and he’s expected to take a similar hit in the near future.

I strongly urge you to editorialize against this move. What’s astonishing about it is that the Republicans just repealed a provision that they put in place back in 1993 when they said they were cleaning up Congress.

This is no mere act of hypocrisy, though. Nor is it just a Beltway issue that’s only relevant in Washington. This is a national moral lapse that cuts to the heart of our government. It’s an utter outrage, and you need to stand up for the public good and shine a spotlight on it.

Tom DeLay has already been rebuked four times by the House Ethics Committee for various violations. It makes people like me—who play by the rules and pay the taxes that provide for Tom DeLay’s salary—even more cynical about politics and American democracy. Just imagine how great Republicans like Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt would react. It’s a disgrace.

Please devote some of your coverage to addressing this dirty move. Have the vision to editorialize against it and play the role of the public watchdog. We, the people, are ultimately the caretakers of our democracy.

When politicians fail to govern with dignity, we must stand up, speak out and hold them accountable.

Millicent Gray

Parks, Ariz.

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