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Union retirees can help separate fact from fiction in this election


It seems like you can’t turn on your TV without seeing a political ad. Because retirees vote more than any other age group, we’re the top target for the lies and scare tactics from politicians and business groups.

This is where we can make a difference. Back when we were on the job, we answered questions and helped out our co-workers. This can continue in retirement. In such an intense election, many retirees need help separating fact from fiction.

We need to explain to our neighbors that Social Security and Medicare are not just seniors issues — they are part of the larger question of how we treat people of all ages. The strong differences between the candidates on Medicare and Social Security are part of two very different views toward the middle class.

I worry that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would make major changes to Medicare that would give big insurance companies even more power and profit. Romney and Ryan want to cut Social Security and raise the retirement age as a way of blaming workers and retirees for a budget deficit we did not cause. Social Security is not a hand-out or a pension fund to raid — we paid for it, we earned it.

Before Social Security and Medicare, too many people worked until the day they died, or lived out their final years in terrible health and poverty.  Our country has made progress in our lifetime, but this cannot be the year we turn back the clock.

Please sign up today to work with your local retiree and labor group to help educate people of all ages on why this election is so important. For all the millions being spent on this campaign, there is nothing more effective than an old-fashioned phone call or knock on the door.

For retirees, our working days may be over, but our fighting spirit burns stronger than ever. Please do everything you can in the next few weeks to help keep Medicare and Social Security strong for our children and grandchildren.

Barbara J. Easterling is president of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  She was previously the secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America.  For more information, visit or call 1-800-333-7212.

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