Seniors Rally For Social Security

By Cristina Quinn

Nov. 10, 2011

rally signs

Seniors and union supporters rally against potential cuts to Medicare and other social programs. (Cristina Quinn/WGBH)

BOSTON — Senior citizens and labor advocates took center stage at the Wang Theatre in downtown Boston on Nov. 9 to rally against the Congressional supercommittee’s proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The 12-member bipartisan committee is considering a $112 billion cut to Social Security by changing how the cost-of-living adjustment is calculated, reducing benefits and raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67.
A fired-up crowd of 3000 filled the Wang, with seniors bussed in from cities and towns all over Mass. and others coming from as far as New York.
Arthur Alexander, vice president of the Boston chapter of the Mass. Senior Action Council, thought the proposed cuts were wrong. “I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t appreciate it because I worked all my life and I’ve got grandkids who are doing the same thing — they’re working and paying their fair share into Social Security,” he said.
Alexander added that cutting Social Security made no sense to him as it would have no impact on the deficit: “People have to realize it’s a trust fund, not a part of the budget, it doesn’t add to the deficit, and I wish they’d stop lying about that.”
Health care workers, teachers and tradesmen were all united on this stage.
Brian, a pipefitter of 23 years with Local 537, said other items should be cut before social programs go on the chopping block. He was open, however, to the idea of extending the age to receive Medicare benefits. “If that¹s what it takes to make sure Social Security stays solvent, then that’s what we need to lean towards,” he said.
Protesters left the Wang Theatre not with playbills but with postcards — and they headed to the offices of Sens. Kerry and Brown with a final encore and message: Stop the cuts.

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