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New AARP Board President Says Voters Must Hold Candidates Accountable

PHOTO: An AARP national official says Wisconsinites need to quiz candidates this fall ahead of the November election on their positions on strengthening Social Security, Medicare, and health care in retirement. Photo courtesy of AARP.
PHOTO: An AARP national official says Wisconsinites need to quiz candidates this fall ahead of the November election on their positions on strengthening Social Security, Medicare, and health care in retirement. Photo courtesy of AARP.
September 29, 2014

MILWAUKEE - Candidates are not saying enough about how they would strengthen Social Security and improve financial security for older Wisconsinites, according to Eric Schneidewind, president-elect of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) National Board. He says their incomes have not kept up with the cost of living.

"Social Security is about 75 percent of all the money that they're going to get during retirement," he says. "You know, the average benefit is about $15,000, or roughly $1,300 a month. Ask yourself how you'd like to live on $1,300 a month to pay all of your bills."

Schneidewind says AARP regularly polls its members and asks what issues they want to hear about from candidates. The three issues that always come up are the candidate's views on Medicare, Social Security, and long-term health benefits during retirement. He says Social Security is often discussed by candidates while talking about balancing the budget, which he thinks is wrong.

"Social Security's been paid for by Wisconsinites for all of their working lives, and it did not contribute to any deficit," says Schneidewind. "So we don't want Social Security discussed in the context of cuts for a deficit it didn't create."

According to AARP, Social Security accounts for 52 percent of the typical older person's family income in Wisconsin, and 76 percent for low- and middle-income seniors. Schneidewind says candidates for public office should openly express and explain their views on the issues of Social Security, Medicare, and health care in retirement while they're campaigning this fall.

Schneidewind says voters need to make informed decisions at the polls in November.

"We'd like to ask voters to go to AARP.org/yourvote and get the information they need to decide which candidates will make a stronger Social Security program, strengthen the solvency of Medicare, and help implement programs that will let the average American save for retirement," he says.

According to Schneidewind, voters have a responsibility when they see candidates in forums, town hall meetings, or even in coffee shops to ask them directly what they will do to protect Social Security for today's seniors and tomorrow's generation.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI