Pocan, retiree advocacy group schedule Social Security webinar

By: - August 16, 2021 5:06 pm
Social Security Card

Social Security Card via Open Clipart | Public domain

The Social Security program marked its 86th birthday over the weekend, and to celebrate the occasion, a retiree advocacy group plans a virtual conversation with U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Black Earth) this week.

Congressman Mark Pocan
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan

The Alliance for Retired Americans will broadcast the conversation in a webinar on Facebook Live starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Wisconsin members of the organization will take part along with Pocan and the alliance’s executive director, Richard Fiesta.

Social Security pays out more than $19 billion a year to Wisconsin residents, according to 2017 data, including more than 1 million Wisconsin retirees.

The Alliance opposes a bipartisan bill, called the TRUST Act, which would establish a series of bipartisan legislative committees to agree on changes to several trust-fund-based federal programs, including Medicare, the federal highway program and Social Security for retirees and survivors.

While the act is billed as a means of ensuring the trust funds aren’t forced to make automatic cuts, the Alliance opposes the legislation.

The measure would create a group of special bipartisan Congressional committees to recommend changes to the programs. Their recommendations would then be the subject of fast-track legislation. The National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare, which also opposes the TRUST Act, charges it would pave the way for cuts in both Social Security and Medicare.

“Half of all seniors in the United States rely on Social Security for at least 50 percent of their income,” Fiesta said in a statement announcing the Tuesday webinar. “We should build on its success by expanding it, so that current and future retirees can retire with dignity. We must also fight any attempts, such as the TRUST Act, that would pave the way to cut it.”

Pocan has co-sponsored federal legislation that would expand Social Security benefits. The bill would also increase funding for the program by phasing out the current cap on what portion of a person’s income is taxed to pay for Social Security.

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.