NALC President Fred Rolando: Retirees Have a Lot Riding on the Outcome of the November 6th Election

 

Fred Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers

This Tuesday, we Americans get to decide who will lead our great country by exercising our right to vote. Every election is important, but federal retirees have a lot riding on the outcome of the November 6th election. The future of Medicare and Social Security is on the line, as is the security of our health benefits and pensions. It’s that simple.

Who resides in the White House and who serves in the Senate and the House of Representatives will make all the difference in the world.

NALC urges you to vote for President Obama and to elect the NALC endorsed candidates to the House of Representatives. Click here to see whom the NALC is endorsing for your Congressional district. We’ve endorsed these candidates because they give us the best chance to protect our rights and interests as active and retired workers.

If you doubt the stakes, just remember what happened in the aftermath of the 2010 mid-term election. The House of Representatives not only adopted the radical Paul Ryan budget that exposed federal retirement and health benefits to huge cuts, but its leaders threatened to default on the national debt. Fortunately, the Senate and the President blocked these radical plans.

President Obama and Vice President Biden strongly support Medicare and Social Security–and have vowed to protect the programs. Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan have supported Social Security privatization in the past and have proposed to turn Medicare into a voucher (premium support) program that would leave you and other future seniors at the mercy of private insurance companies.

The Obama/Biden plan to reduce the deficit and control the rising federal debt–which exploded long before President Obama took office as a result of unwise tax cuts, unpaid for wars and the Wall Street crash–is based on the principle of shared sacrifice. Gov. Romney initially supported the radical Ryan budget that attacked federal employees and now he refuses to say how he can afford to cut taxes by $5 trillion without exploding the debt or raising middle class taxes–or exposing our benefits to huge cuts.

Stand up for your retirement security and in solidarity with active letter carriers across the country by voting for President Obama. Let your family and friends know how important it is to you to have a friend of active and retired postal workers and of working Americans in the White House, and urge them to vote for Obama as well.

The House and Senate candidates we have endorsed have proved their allegiance to letter carriers and retirees by sponsoring or supporting legislation that will fairly address the crisis that Congress created at the Postal Service and make the American economy better for the middle class. They have vowed to fight for our interests as workers and to strengthen Social Security and Medicare. Their opponents have either refused to support us or have demonstrated their hostility with their words and actions.

I respect the fact that the political views of retired letter carriers span the entire political spectrum and that many of you take other issues into account before you vote. Nonetheless, I hope you will follow the NALC lead when you vote on Tuesday. This is not about supporting one party or another. It’s about giving working people like us a shot to stay in the middle class and keep the country moving forward. How you vote will have a big effect on your future:

  • Will the budget negotiations in late 2012 and early 2013 close the huge budget deficit in a fair and balanced way with the wealthiest Americans asked to do their part by paying modestly higher taxes on incomes above $250,000 or will retired federal employees be unfairly singled out for cuts to their cost-of-living adjustments and face even higher health insurance premiums?
  • Will Congress repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and cut new Medicare benefits for prescription drugs and wellness care to restore wasteful subsidies to providers and insurers or will Congress seek to improve the law by letting Medicare negotiate drug prices with drug companies?
  • Will Congress privatize Social Security and turn the Medicare program into an insecure voucher program for future retirees and jeopardize the stability of the existing programs for current retirees or will Congress maintain the solidarity that exists between generations and strengthen the programs to ensure a decent and secure retirement for you, your children and grandchildren?

The economy is finally healing from the housing and banking meltdown of 2008–unemployment has fallen from 10% to 7.9%, jobs are starting to come back and the deficit is starting to fall. The last thing we should do is to go back the same failed policies (deregulation, reckless tax cuts, etc.) that caused the economic crisis.

Finally, no matter what political beliefs you hold, please exercise your sacred right to vote. It is a patriotic duty that we owe to the generations of Americans who fought for our freedoms through the ballot box, in the streets and on the picket lines, and on the battlefields. Thank you.

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