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Seniors plan civil disobedience to protest Social Security cuts

Joined by hundreds of supporters from community and advocacy groups – and from Occupy Chicago – dozens of seniors will block traffic Monday morning to protest proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Following a rally and march starting at Dearborn and Adams at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, November 7, they’ll blockade the intersection of Jackson and Clark outside the Federal Plaza at 11:30 a.m..

The groups will meet later with Senator Durbin and members of the local congressional delegation “to demand a federal budget that strengthens the social safety net for low-income families” and that leaders “solve the revenue crisis by raising taxes on millionaires and closing loopholes for banks and big corporations,” according to a release.

According to reports, both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate “Supercommittee” considering a deficit reduction deal have proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

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Call on Durbin: No Social Security cuts

Members of the Illinois Alliance of Retired Americans and the Strengthen Social Security Campaign delivered a letter to Senator Richard Durbin this afternoon calling on him to reconsider his statement yesterday that he would support raising the retirement age to 69.

“The increase will be devastating for future retirees and especially discriminates against African-Americans, women and low-wage workers,” the letter said.

It amounts to a 13 percent benefit reduction, on top of a 13 percent reduction under 1983 legislation that will raise the retirement age to 67 by 2022, said John Gaudette of Citizen Action Illinois.

The groups point out that while life expectancy has increased by five years for upper-income men in the last quarter-century, it’s risen by just one year for lower-income men – and it’s fallen for lower-income women.

Without Social Security, more than half of older women would fall into poverty, they say.

“There are sensible solutions to help reduce the federal deficit, as well as improve Social Security long-term solvency, but cutting Social Security benefits is not one of them,” they write. “Social Security has not contributed a single penny to the deficit.”

(For more, see Durbin Defaults and Obama tax plan – a threat to Social Security?)

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