By Senator Sherrod Brown
For too long, seniors have faced rising costs for prescription drugs, utilities, and food, but a monthly Social Security check that has not risen accordingly. That’s because the formula that determines whether Social Security recipients will get a COLA is not properly aligned with the costs facing most seniors. I’m fighting to reform this flawed formula so that seniors are not left in the cold.
I’m glad to announce that the Social Security Administration will provide a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to seniors in 2012.
Seniors, who earned Social Security by paying into the program during their working years, not be forced to shoulder an outsize budget during their retirement. No elderly American should have to choose between paying for medicine and a meal. That’s why I’m fighting to preserve Social Security and Medicare by rejecting plans to privatize them, cut benefits, or raise the retirement age.
After the House of Representatives passed a plan that would dismantle Medicare as we know it, I encouraged 50 of my Senate colleagues to sign a letter pledging to reject this dangerous scheme. And raising the retirement age for Social Security might sound okay to Washington politicians who don’t have to work on their feet all day, but it’s a non-starter for hard-working Ohioans employed at our manufacturing facilities, farms, or restaurants. Ohioans who work hard and play by the rules believe that their elected officials should do the same. That’s why I’m also fighting to pass a bill I introduced that would tie the age at which members of Congress can collect their own retirement benefits to the eligibility age for Social Security. If a steelworker has to wait until she is 66 years old to receive retirement benefits, then so should members of Congress – especially those who want to increase the retirement eligibility age.
Across our state, I’ve met with senior citizens who have worked all of their lives to be able to retire with dignity. They never asked for a handout. They never expected a free pass. They worked diligently because, in Ohio, workers are the backbone of our economic strength.