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The president’s “Entitlement Commission” on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Passed by the Retired Teachers’ Chapter membership meeting on April 13, 2010 and now goes to the Delegate Assembly of the UFT. 

WHEREAS, President Obama signed an Executive Order on February 23, 2010 to establish a commission to tackle the federal debt whose purpose is to reduce the federal budget deficit from 10% to 3% by 2015 and in the long run to bring down the overall federal debt, and

WHEREAS, this “Entitlement Commission” is composed of presidential appointees as well as members of both political parties from the Senate and the House of Representatives, and

WHEREAS, the President has charged the commission with the mandate of considering everything, including raising taxes and looking at Social security, Medicare and Medicaid, in order to meet its goals, and

WHEREAS, the congressional leadership has already indicated that recommendations of this “Entitlement Commission” will be put to the vote in Congress, offering its members the opportunity to give serious consideration to its proposals, and

WHEREAS, this “Entitlement Commission” is likely to entertain calls to balance the budget and reduce the federal deficit on the backs of senior citizens by offering recommendations to the Congress harmful to the benefits that enable them to enjoy a secure retirement, and

WHEREAS, Social Security is a vital part of the social contract created in 1935 by President Roosevelt and the Congress, initially to protect retired Americans from ending in the Poor House, but growing later intoa broader safety net for individuals and families, and

WHEREAS, Medicare was created as a government program in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson and the Congress to provide affordable quality medical care to retirees with Medicaid as companion legislation affording medical care for the indigent, and

WHEREAS, these are earned benefits and that working men and women have paid throughout their working careers for these benefits to get the guaranteed protections of Social Security and Medicare, be it

RESOLVED, that the Obama administration and the Congress be urged to reaffirm the social contract promise of Social Security and Medicare to seniors, their children and grandchildren, and be it

RESOLVED, we are against any reduction in Social Security benefits or increase in age for present and future recipients; and be it

RESOLVED, we oppose cuts in Medicare services and increases in premiums including deductibles and means testing payments. As a program supported by working families and the middle class, any decrease in services and increases in premiums in Medicare penalizes working families and resulting in the loss of their support thereby undermining the viability of the program; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the benefit programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid be omitted from harmful deficit cutting or budget reduction schemes and that any adjustments to these programs be to enhance and not diminish them; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers urge that the New York State United Teachers, the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, the Association of Retired Americans (ARA) and all its allies fight to make the public aware of this “Entitlement Commission’s” creation and mandate and of its potentially harmful recommendations and pressure President Obama and the Congress by petitions, faxes, emails, letters or any other form of public campaign to protect and enhance these safeguards for all retirees and their families.