SAGINAW, Mich. — Eric Friedman walked into a hornet’s nest. The district director for Michigan Republican Congressman Dave Camp was taken aback by the wrath of angry constituents. Calling President Bush’s claim that Social Security is bankrupt “a lie,” they demanded that Camp work to raise the cap on payroll taxes so upper-income people pay their fair share into the Social Security fund.
The PWW recently talked with Pedro Rodriguez, executive director of the Philadelphia branch of the Action Alliance of Senior Citizens. Rodriguez is also executive vice president of the state Alliance for Retired Americans. In these roles, he is currently busy organizing a regional Coalition to Defend Social Security. Ben Sears interviewed Rodriguez for the PWW.
Social Security plays an exceptionally important role in the economic life of African Americans: Social Security is the main source of retirement income for most elderly African Americans, and the only source for 40 percent.
As California labor and community organizations mobilize to uphold Social Security, they are seeing a related development in the concerted drive by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to privatize new state workers’ pensions and eliminate state contributions to teachers’ retirement.
SAN FRANCISCO — The labor movement and community organizations took on the financial institutions backing Social Security privatization as they held noontime demonstrations Jan. 26 in San Francisco and Boston to protest Charles Schwab and Co.’s leading role in trying to open up the system to Wall Street.