Friday, November 18, 2011

Minorities Would be Heavily Affected by COLA Cuts

The clock is ticking for the Supercommittee. There's only a few days left until the deadline for the groups of twelve to come up with a comprehensive debt reduction package of at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade. Democrats have been uneasy about proposed cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security, but with so little time left, the only thing the "super" twelve can agree on is putting everything (even entitlements) on the table.

One cut under consideration is a $112 billion cut to Social Security by changing how the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) is calculated and reducing benefits. Also said to be under review, raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67 and increasing out-of-pocket costs for seniors using Medicare.

"People of color, minorities, disproportionately rely on social security because they're disadvantaged in the workplace," says Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works. "Often they don't have private pensions or other sources of income, so they are highly dependent on these benefits. Minority women, especially, are extremely dependent on these benefits."

There was a recent piece in the Washington Post last month detailing just as U.S. demographics continue to change and citing this report:
Maya Rockeymoore, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, which put together a new report on the issue with a coalition of left-leaning policy and minority advocacy groups. The report points out that minority Americans tend to rely more heavily on Social Security than white Americans, given the disparities in wealth and income.

The authors points out that minorities are also less likely to have workplace-sponsored pension programs, as they’re less likely to have employers that offer such benefits. And the wealth gap means they have fewer assets to draw upon. (SSI stands for “Supplemental Security Income,”an auxillary Social Security benefit program.)

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I), pollster Celinda Lake released a poll on Friday showing that a majority of Americans across party lines oppose cuts to Social Security. “We are not going to allow them to cut Social Security,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. said on a conference call earlier today. He conceded the cuts were necessary telling reporters, "we need deficit reduction, but not through Social Security."

(Associated Press Photo)
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