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October 12, 2010

Video Report of the NYC  Celebration of 75th Anniversary of Social Security

Strengthen Social Security Campaign 
(read below or click here)


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Below you'll find video files of the
Social Security 75th Anniversary events.

(running time: 18 minutes)

SS Video
(running time: 1 hour)

SS Video
(running time: 1 & a half hours)

(running time:  22 minutes)

Videos - Suggs Media Productions


Strengthen Social Security Campaign

SSStrengthenBALCONY continues to be a member of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign.  The Strengthen Social Security Campaign www.strengthensocialsecurity.org is a coalition of over 130 organizations that represent over 50 million Americans.  We stand together in support of Social Security, a promise made to Americans of all generations.  Now, Social Security is being threatened by The National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (commonly referred to as the Deficit Commission) that wants to cut Social Security benefits.  The commission is chaired by former Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.  We stand united in our understanding that Social Security was not the cause of the federal deficit, as some members of the commission believe, and that its benefits should not be cut to reduce the deficit. 
We are united in the following principles:
  Social Security did not cause the federal deficit.
  Social Security, which has stood the test of time, should not be privatized in whole or in part.
  Social Security is insurance and should not be means-tested.
  Social Security is fully funded for more than 25 years; thereafter it has sufficient funds to meet 75 percent of promised benefits. Congress should act to close this funding gap by requiring those who are most able to afford it to pay somewhat more.
  Social Security's retirement age, already scheduled to increase from 65 to 67, should not be raised further.
  Social Security benefits should not be reduced, including by changes to the cost of living adjustment or the benefit formula.
  Social Security's benefits should be increased for those who are most disadvantaged.


Events:  75th Anniversary of Social Security


From Left to Right (Nancy True, Director, IBT-Local 30 Retirement Division, David B. Roosevelt, Congressman Charles Rangel; Birthday Cake for Social Security; Charles B. Roosevelt, Speaker of the NY City Council, Christine Quinn; Lou Gordon, Director, BALCONY, Bruce Ventimiglia, Co-Chair BALCONY, Alan Lubin, Co-Chair, BALCONY)

New York City (August 19th, 2010) - Throughout the month of August, BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, has worked with the New York State Office for the Aging, AARP, the New York State United Teachers, Hunter College's Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, and many others to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Social Security with events across New York State.

On Thursday, August 19th, the Social Security Diamond Anniversary Committee, whose members include the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), the Business and Labor Coalition of New York (BALCONY), AARP, the NYS Alliance for Retired Americans (NYSARA), Local 237/IBT/Retiree Division, Services Now for Adult Persons (SNAP), the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), and the Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly, Inc. (IPR/HE), convened a series of Social Security birthday celebration events in New York City. The programs included brief speeches by beneficiaries, experts, relatives of the Roosevelt family, and elected officials, as well as entertainment, refreshments, and testimonials - as well as an evening panel moderated by journalist Jane Pauley.

The message of the day was clear: Social Security works for the nation and for the residents of every state and America cannot afford to cut it. Citing Social Security's $2.6 trillion dollar surplus (projected to grow to $4.3 trillion by 2023) as well as the drastic consequences for beneficiaries were the program to be slashed or benefits reduced (without Social Security nearly half of seniors over 65 would sink below the poverty line) speakers argued that efforts in Washington to cut or privatize Social Security as a means to reduce the nation's growing federal debt are essentially political posturing and unwarranted. The idea of raising the retirement age from 67 to 70 was universally rejected.

On August 14th, 1935 President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security program into law, asserting his belief that every American has a right to freedom from want and to certain critical protections from the unforeseeable and the inevitable.

75 years later the promise of Social Security continues to deliver - providing a critical social safety net for all Americans and ensuring that no American suffer unduly just because they are old, or sick, or the victim of catastrophic circumstance.

Bruce Ventimiglia, Co-Chair of BALCONY and President/CEO of Saratoga Capital Management - "BALCONY, like Social Security, was created with the intention of leveling the playing field; of protecting all Americans, whether old or young, sick or healthy, fortunate or not.  We applaud the spirit of Social Security and will continue to work to ensure that it is available for future generations of Americans."

Andy Pallotta
Andy Pallotta, Executive Vice President of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), spoke about the critical task of protecting Social Security in these tough times, "First off let me say that the 611,000 members of NYSUT support Social Security with all their hearts and brains and with their mouths and votes too.  Our goal is to have our members, and indeed everyone, live with decency, respect, and security.  We need to make sure people know, and the next generation knows, what had to be fought for to get where we are today. The union movement and the Social Security movement came out of tough times....We know these are tough times today and there will be tough times in the future, but we are not going to step back and let anyone take it away from us."

Lou Gordon, Director of BALCONY, said, "We are thrilled to be a part of the celebration of 75 years of Social Security.  BALCONY believes in maintaining and promoting the integrity and the promise of Social Security now and for future generations of Americans."

Additionally, two groups, Social Security Works and Strengthen Social Security, released a new joint report, "Social Security Works for New York." The data presented in this impressive report speaks volumes about the importance of Social Security to families, communities and state and local economies as well as the future viability of the program. Nancy True, Director of the Retiree Division of Local 237, IBT, and Suleika Cabrera-Drinane, President and CEO of the Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly, Inc. (IPR/HE) (pictured above) introduced the findings of the report and discussed their significance at both events.

At a final evening event the eminent journalist Jane Pauley moderated a panel Thursday night at Hunter College's Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute that featured academics, historians, and policy analysts who discussed the history and future of America's Social Security program.

The panel (from left to right) Eric Kingson, Professor of Social Work, Syracuse University School of Social Work as well as Co-Director of Social Security Works and Co-Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign; Jane Pauley, panel moderator; Kirstin Downey, author of "The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor and his Moral Conscience" ; and John Rother, Executive Vice President of Policy and Strategy, AARP; Barbara Kennelly, President & CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Hunter College President Jennifer Raab gave the opening remarks.

The goal of the panel was to gain a better understanding of the origin and early years of Social Security and to use that understanding as a pretext to engage in a broader conversation dealing with the future of the program, questions over its solvency, and the veracity of charges that Social Security must be cut or privatized in order to deal with the nation's rising deficit.

Alan Lubin, Co-Chair, BALCONY and moderator Jane Pauley

Giving the closing remarks Alan Lubin, Co-Chair of BALCONY and former Executive Vice President of the New York State United Teachers, said, "Social Security is a hugely important program, not only for seniors and the retired, but for younger Americans who are the victim of job related injury, disability, or death of a parent or spouse.  An estimated 3 out of 10 working men and 1 out of 4 working women will become severely disabled before reaching retirement age.  For these folks Social Security is more than a convenience, it is a vital safety net.  Additionally, Social Security is the major life and disability insurance protection for more than 95% of New York's children.  Social Security is a cornerstone of the American promise and we must remain vigilant in our support of it, especially in these tough political times when special interests and partisan politics threaten the integrity of this critical program - we cannot allow it to become watered down."

SS Collage

Pictures from Left to Right (Bill Henning, VP, CWA Local 1180; Congressman Anthony Wiener; Michael Burgess, Director, New York State Office for the Aging; Lois Aronstein, New York State Director, AARP; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; Dennis Hughes, President, NYS AFL-CIO; Andy Pallotta, Executive Vice President, NYSUT; Social Security Beneficiaries; Beneficiary Speaks; Mel Aronson, Treasurer, UFT; Bruce Ventimiglia, Co-Chair, BALCONY, Jane Pauley, Lois Aronstein, Director, New York State AARP; Evening Panel at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, Hunter College)










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