VIDEO: (Don’t Wanna) Work ‘Till We Die

Our latest Social Security music video “Work ‘Till We Die” is right here — it’s got a country/honky-tonk feel, and a catchy little chorus you’ll be humming later. Be sure to sign this letter telling the President and Congress to expand Social Security and “scrap the cap” so everyone pays the same tax rate for the same guarantee!

The loudest calls for cutting Social Security come from wealthy CEOs who will never have to worry about their own retirement security.

The roughly 200 CEOs who collectively make up Business Roundtable — a business lobbying group that often pushes conservative views, including Social Security cuts — have average retirement savings of $14.5 million, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government.

That’s about 1,200 times bigger than what the median American worker has saved for retirement a decade before the end of his or her career, according to the study. (That paltry amount is just $12,000, by the way, according to a separate report.)

But by simply requiring upper-income taxpayers to pay the same tax rate as middle-class families, Social Security’s benefits could be expanded — AND its funding would remain in balance for decades beyond the longest projections.

Social Security is funded through deductions to everyone’s paychecks. We pay in while we’re working, and then collect benefits when we retire or become disabled. But not everyone pays equally into the system: Social Security taxes are only collected on the first $118,500 earned per year. Any income above that cap isn’t taxed.

Join us to tell the President and members of Congress: it’s time to expand Social Security by ensuring everyone pays the same tax rate for the same guarantee.

For a full understanding of the report’s methodology, you can click here to read the report. [Original: Huffington Post]

Social Security & Medicare Decades of Success Celebration

Download full-size poster PDF here »

Join Social Security Works – Washington and hundreds of your Seattle friends and neighbors as we celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security’s, and the 50th anniversary of Medicare!

We are rallying at Westlake Park on August 8th at 1 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, US Senate
Rep. Adam Smith, US House of Representatives
Sen. Pramila Jayapal, Washington Legislature
Hon. Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Member
Lynne Dodson – Secretary Treasurer, Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO
Heather Villanueva – Senior Community Strength Organizer, SEIU 775, Board member, Ingersoll Gender Center
Rebecca Saldana – Executive Director, Puget Sound Sage
Gerald Hankerson – President of Alaska, Oregon, Washington State Area Conference NAACP
Marcelas Owens – Youth leader, Washington CAN!
Hugh Foy, MD. Physicians for a National Health Plan Western Washington, Professor of Surgery, UW School of Medicine, Director of the Surgical Specialties Clinic, Harborview
Jackie Boschak – President of Washington Alliance for Retired Americans President

Jim Page, musician and activist
Daniel Pak of Kore Ionz
Geo Quibuyen of Blue Scholars

Social Security and Medicare are crucial tenets of retirement security. They are the most successful anti-poverty programs in the history of the US, but face unrelenting corporate attack. Join us as we celebrate Social Security and Medicare while calling on our elected officials to protect and expand these program by scrapping the cap on taxable income, adopting the caregiver credit, and using the CPI-E to calculate benefits.

Be part of a music video to help protect and expand Social Security, America’s best-loved social insurance plan!

wtid-video-spotlightWho: Hopefully you! No previous acting experience required (thought it’s great if you have), but you should be game to try something new and fun regardless. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome – families too!

Organizers: This video is being produced by Social Security Works – Washington and the Economic Opportunity Institute, in collaboration with Reel Grrls Productions.

What: Building on the wild success of the rap video Scrap the Cap (We’re Movin’ In), we’re seeking volunteers to appear in a country music video for a new song called: “(Don’t Wanna) Work ‘Til I Die”. Once completed, the video will be posted on social media and websites all over the country by people and organizations working to protect and expand Social Security.

When: A few hours during one Sunday in April. The exact date is weather-dependent, but will be either April 12th, 19th or 26th. Volunteers will get a confirmed date and time range with several days’ notice.

Where: Orting, WA (50 mins. south of Seattle, 30 mins. southeast of Tacoma). Exact location/address will be given to confirmed volunteers.

You’ll Need:

  1. Personal transportation to and from the location;
  2. Personal clothing (some volunteers will be asked to wear work attire, others casual/weekend clothes);
  3. A signed media release (provided when you arrive on set);
  4. To be on-site for the duration of the time specified (there will be busy times, and slack times); and
  5. A willingness to take direction as requested by the director/producer.

You’ll Receive: A really unique and fun experience, your name in the credits, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping protect and expand Social Security: America’s best-loved social insurance plan!

To Join In: Send an email to that includes:

  1. Your name(s)
  2. A photo of you (and your friends/family if they’re coming too)
  3. Your availability for each of the days noted above
  4. Best phone number to reach you

Please forward this post widely – especially to fun-loving friends who are game to try something new and enjoy being on camera!

WA citizens pushing back against Social Security attacks

The 2012 Social Security Trustees’ report confirms Social Security is well-financed, with a reserve of $2.7 trillion. But you wouldn’t know it from the chorus of “bad news” headlines, so here are the facts:

  • Without any Congressional action at all, full benefits can be paid until 2033, at which point Social Security would still be able to cover about 75% of benefits.
  • Because of how Social Security calculates benefits, that “75%” of benefits in 2033 will still be, on average, higher (in inflation-adjusted dollars), than full benefits today.

Other nonpartisan sources have also noted Social Security is on a sound financial footing. The Congressional Budget Office projects costs will remain relatively flat over the next 75-years, increasing by about 1% before leveling off.

Unfortunately, these truths aren’t exactly headline material – and several prominent media outlets have been critiqued for it by the Columbia Journalism Review for lax reporting on Social Security:

 “Whatever the reason—ideology, poor understanding of how the program works, gullibility, or plain old reportorial laziness—news outlets have given the public a skewed picture of the financial health of this hugely important program.”

Social Security Works – Washington is pushing back by correcting misinformation about Social Security in the media, and advocating for a simple proposal that will improve Social Security’s long-term fiscal outlook and improve benefits: Scrap the Cap.

Under Scrap the Cap, Congress would lift the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes, currently $110,100. This simple fix would allow a modest benefit increase today, ensure benefits are fully funded in the long-run, and maintain Social Security’s historic benefit-contribution link.

“Social Security is well-financed – scrapping the cap will remove any doubt about its long-term financial stability,” said Robby Stern, Chair of the Social Security Works WA coalition and President of Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans.

Under Scrap the Cap, Social Security can restore benefits to college students who have suffered the death of a parent, provide family care credits to people who leave the workforce to take care of children or family members, and increase benefits for the lowest-income earners.

Video: An easy fix for Social Security – Scrap the Cap!

An educational event at Highline Community College on April 12th highlighted some of the common misconceptions about Social Security – and showed how easy it would be to strengthen the program and improve benefits.

The event was taped and edited together by the Washington State Labor Council’s Kathy Cummings. Please enjoy this brief video featuring highlights from the event!

Social Security reform: Kucinich and coalition say ‘scrap the cap’

Representative Dennis Kucinich

From the Federal Way Mirror, by Editor Andy Hobbs:

One in four Washington state households rely on Social Security benefits, along with 54 million people nationwide. As demand for benefits grows, so does the call for reforming the system.

Social Security Works Washington, a new statewide coalition of labor and retiree groups, is hammering home the idea of “scrapping the cap.”

That cap is the Social Security collection limit on incomes above $106,800 per year (that number becomes $110,100 in 2012). All citizens earning incomes at that level and below are taxed 6.2 percent.

An April 12 forum at Highline Community College promoted the lifting or outright removal of this cap. Doing so, proponents say, will increase benefits and strengthen Social Security by trillions of dollars.

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich delivered a fiery pitch for Social Security reform at Thursday’s forum.

Kucinich, a Democrat, opposes the privatization Social Security as well as any cuts to benefits or a later retirement age. He says lifting the cap is a simple solution that will make Social Security solvent.

As the retirement population increases, the ratio of working adults to retirees decreases, prompting fears that Social Security will go broke.

“The Social Security debate today is very class-based,” he told a crowd at the Highline campus. “Social Security is not going broke. … It has money in a trust fund to pay 100 percent of benefits through 2036 without any changes whatsoever.”

Kucinich was referring to the Social Security trust fund, which is worth about $2.6 trillion, enough to help fully fund the system until 2037. Other factors such as a full-employment economy, he said, will mean more people pay into the system.

One of the warmup speakers at Thursday’s forum was Federal Way resident Deanna Kirkpatrick. Her struggles and triumphs with multiple sclerosis were recently profiled in The Mirror.

Six years ago, Kirkpatrick was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare onset to multiple sclerosis. At one point, she was paralyzed up to her earlobes.

At the Highline forum, Kirkpatrick said Social Security disability benefits were her safety net when battling the disease. She hopes that Social Security disability benefits will continue to be available to people in similar situations.

The Social Security Works forum contained hints of a political stump speech by Kucinich. The former presidential candidate linked Social Security’s solvency to ideas such as a national manufacturing policy and a not-for-profit health care system. He also blamed the war in Iraq for wasting trillions of dollars.

“It’s time we stood for peace in the world,” he said.

Kucinich has generated political buzz about running for office in Washington state. Kucinich has not confirmed or dismissed whether he will seek the Congress seat being vacated by Jay Inslee, the Democratic candidate for governor. The liberal Kucinich, a former mayor of Cleveland, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997. His 10th congressional district in Ohio and that state’s 9th district were collapsed into one district due to the 2010 Census.


Other guest speakers at the April 12 forum at Highline include Pramila Jayapal, executive director of OneAmerica; Marilyn Watkins, policy director, Economic Opportunity Institute; and Magdaleno Rose-Avila, executive director, The Latino Equality Initiative.

Back in Washington, D.C., lawmakers including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have proposed legislation for Social Security reform that specifically addresses the tax cap. Sanders recently announced the formation of the Defend Social Security Caucus, which includes Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell.