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The Super Committee and the Threat it Poses to Social Insurance Programs
Seniors, workers, and people with disabilities are in danger of having their safety net slashed. The California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and cosponsors including the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC) presented a Town Hall this week with action items to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The Super Committee established by Congress is charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. With a mere 3 weeks left before the Super Committee's deadline, speakers from organizations including the New America Media and the California Nurses Association urged people attending a Town Hall meeting in San Jose, California to contact members of the Super Committee to tell them Social Security does not belong to members of Congress to be used as a piggybank.
Panelists were Jodi Reid of CARA (senior perspective), Greg Miller (workers' perspective), Anna Robles (latino perspective), Margie Metzler (older women's perspective). Ligia Andrade of Silicon Valley Independent Center, said that rights gained under the Olmstead Act, in which the Supreme Court held that individuals with mental disabilities have the right to live in the community rather than in institutions, could disappear if cuts are made to the social services by the Super Committee.
Paul Kleyman, of New America was keynote speaker. He called slashes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid "inhuman". Hene Kelley, CARA Legislative Director, told the audience to "Call call call your representatives and members of the Super Committee and let them know in no uncertain terms how you feel!" The Raging Grannies sang their message to those in attendance in a song called "I've Been Workin' Now for Ages" to the tune of "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad". "Now see if you can call and sing that to the Super Committee," joked Granny Ruth Robertson, who added, "for those who can't sing the lyrics, a simple demand in prose will do...and don't let anyone tell you the members of that Committee don't represent you, because as members of a group appointed by Congress, they most certainly do."
Ms. Andrade represented the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center. She spoke about the importance of programs for the disabled and answered questions about the Olmstead Act. Behind her are aides from Congressman Honda's and Congresswoman Lofgren's offices who also briefly addressed the group.
Paul Kleyman of New America Media at right
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