Prop 33 Targets Senior Citizens for Insurance Rate Hikes

By Nan Brasmer

I am a senior citizen. I live on a fixed income. I'm voting No on Proposition 33 because it will raise automobile insurance rates on law abiding Californians like me, who have a health problem that keeps them off the road for a period of time.

Ten years ago, after living in pain for years, I had my hip replaced. I dropped my auto insurance for four months while I recovered. After all, I could not drive, and this helped me save some money.

But if Proposition 33 were the law, I would have been punished with higher insurance premiums for the next five years simply because I suspended my insurance when I did not need it. That's not fair.

NYT Picks Up on Cuts to Current Medicare Beneficiaries Arising From Romney-Ryan Plan

By David Dayen

The story I covered on Sunday about how the Romney-Ryan campaign would have to cut current Medicare benefits because of the box they’ve shoved themselves into by promising to “restore $716 billion in Medicare cuts” finally gets picked up by the New York Times in a front-page story. If the story gets a bigger platform, all the better. But I don’t think Jackie Calmes did a complete job of explaining this, so let me try again.

Providing All Californians with Retirement Security

By Teresa Ghilarducci
The New School for Social Research

In the past decade the number of California workers with access to a retirement plan at work has plummeted. A recent study by The New School’s  Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) shows that in 2009, 52.3% of California’s workers did not have access to an employer-provided retirement plan—representing a 6.5% rise over the previous decade in workers without pension access.

This increase poses a danger to the broader economy, which will suffer the destabilizing effects of mass retirement insecurity. Legislators can address this looming crisis with a fair, low-cost solution: opening existing, well-managed retirement systems to private sector employees.

Behind Alan Simpson Bluster, a Warning Sign for Workers and Retirees

By Barbara Easterling
Alliance for Retired Americans

Behind the shock and awe of Alan Simpson's hate-filled letter to the California chapter of my organization—he recently wrote that members of the Alliance for Retired Americans were "a wretched group of seniors" and "greedy geezers"—lies a cautionary tale for workers and retirees: Beware of politicians looking for political cover to cut Social Security.

Retirement: Where Corporate Executives Make the Real Big Bucks

By Senator Mark Leno

With most of the attention focused on the rising level of CEO pay while executives are actively working, an even more important aspect of executive compensation has been overlooked. What a top corporate executive makes when he or she retires from a publicly traded corporation is an ongoing expense to the company every year for the rest of their lives, as opposed to their yearly pay, which is a one-time payment.

Jason Hodge: A Republican in Democrat's Clothing

By David Atkins

Remember Jason Hodge, the corporate-backed Democrat running for California's 19th Senate District who "doesn't think you need higher taxes", running against progressive Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson?

Well, I just got a nice big glossy mailer from an organization called the California Senior Advocates League, saying that Jason Hodge would be the Democrat most capable of defeating the Republicans and calling Hannah-Beth Jackson the derogatory nickname "Taxin' Jackson."

What is the California Senior Advocates League? Well, it's a group that only seems to exist come election time. It runs a now-defunct blog called the Silver Dog Blog, whose latest post trashes the Affordable Care Act. And its funders? Mostly the San Diego and California Republican Parties, big oil and pharmaceutical interests. Most recently it received $20,000 from something called JobsPAC. And who funds JobsPAC? Mostly Philip Morris, Chevron, Anheuser-Busch, Anthem Blue Cross, PG&E and a host of similar companies and institutions.

Social Security’s Imminent Demise Greatly Exaggerated in Mainstream Headlines

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

To read this week’s mainstream headlines on the new Social Security Trustees Report, you’d think the barriers to our retirement future were higher than Fenway Park’s vaunted Green Monster. What the report actually shows, however, is that the nation’s retirement system is, more precisely, as durable as Boston’s vaunted emerald wall, which was celebrated for its 100th anniversary last week.

Factual reporting on the staying power of government programs, though, doesn’t drive much website traffic. On Monday, the PBS News Hour headed an online page for the debate they aired about the report, “Social Security Slated to Run Dry in 2033, Trustees Warn.”

Coordinated Care Key To Saving Health Care For Seniors

By Gary Passmore
Congress of California Seniors

Rising health care costs and the downturn in the economy have meant disaster for California's seniors, resulting in huge budget cuts to health care programs that serve our vulnerable population.

As reported in the Mercury News last week, Gov. Jerry Brown has attempted to stop the bleeding by proposing to restructure state health care programs for the poor. His plan represents an opportunity for California to deliver more care for the dollar through better coordinated, more effective care.

However, we believe his plan must be improved upon by investing in the tools seniors need to proactively manage our health and maintaining our choices when it comes to directing our care.

Burr/Coburn Medicare Plan: 10 Deceptions - and a Free-Market "Death Panel"

By Richard (RJ) Eskow

There's a new "Medicare" proposal - sorta. It's really the same old bait-and-switch we've seen a dozen times. Still, you gotta hand it to 'em: Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and Richard Burr have taken the usual right-wing think-tank-designed buzzwords, deceptive packaging, and sleights of hand, and have taken them to new heights.

These foundation-forged assaults on the middle class may be old, battered ideas that have been debunked a dozen times, but still they just won't die. Like the old Terminators, they keep coming back with the same mission: Must. Kill. Medicare.

Coburn and Burr don't even pretend to show how their anti-Medicare plan - excuse me, "choice" plan - will save money. They just say this:

We do not yet have a concrete, specific amount of "savings" outlined, but we believe our proposal could save between $200 billion and $500 billion over a decade.

“Tax Holiday” News Coverage Misses Democrats’ Social Security Breach

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

Democratic leaders and the White House are congratulating themselves for their tax-holiday victory—but only until the Feb. 29 leap-of-faith day--over GOP hardliners. But the payroll tax holiday, like most vacations, will have its bill to pay.

The national media have been playing the bipartisan shuffle in terms of Democratic stimulus versus GOP stinginess. But such major media as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have largely abrogated their responsibility to report another viewpoint that multiple progressive experts and commentators have argued for since the essentially Republic tax-cut idea was put forward and accepted last year by the Obama White House.