Thursday, June 12, 2008

Celebrating Social Security and Medicare

In these days of seemingly never-ending sky-is-falling entitlement rhetoric, today’s National Committee 25th Anniversary celebration offered a much-needed reminder of the critical roles Social Security and Medicare play in the lives of millions of Americans. Our 25th Anniversary celebration today was very much a “family” affair.

James Roosevelt, Jr., grandson of President Franklin Roosevelt and son of the National Committee’s founder, James Roosevelt reminded the several hundred advocates, policy experts, and leaders from the aging community assembled today, why it’s so important to continue fighting to preserve Social Security for future generations:

“My father believed as I do that Social Security was an essential part of maintaining the dignity of Americans throughout their lives. I’m pleased to say that, in spite of those who continue to misinform and advocate privatization (and they haven’t gone away), the dedicated Social Security funding mechanism and the dedicated delivery system has been very successful in raising the vast majority of our elderly citizens out of poverty. I’d even suggest the National Committee is even more needed today than when it was created 25 years ago.”

Lynda Johnson Robb accepted the National Committee’s 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her father, President Lyndon Johnson. She told the crowd:

“Medicare, completing FDR’s Social Security legislation, helps seniors weather the rigors of old age and was a jewel in the crown of the Great Society. Daddy knew that it was not perfect and would have to be carefully guarded and improved where necessary by coming generations. Medicare is not a monument to him. Although, I take great pleasure that his name is associated with it. It is a living monument to the spirit of the American people and I’m proud of that too.”

We also recognized two other award winners today. The National Committee’s 2008 Media Excellence Awards went to Saul Friedman from Newsday and Ronni Bennett, “Time Goes By” blogger.Friedman’s “Gray Matters” column covers the political, economic, and social issues affecting older Americans, and Ronni Bennett is one of the first bloggers to engage in an in-depth conversation on elder issues with her thought-provoking and entertaining blog “Time Goes By”.

National Committee President/CEO Barbara Kennelly summed up the day this way:

“All of us in this room care about Social Security and Medicare, not just for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren. We will always speak out to protect those already in retirement, because Social Security and Medicare are critical to their ability to get from day to day. But we also speak for their 45 year old sons and daughters, who are struggling to make ends meet so finding extra money to save for retirement simply isn’t in the picture. And we speak for the 20-somethings, who have their entire future in front of them and so they aren’t yet thinking about the challenges of life they will surely face someday.”

As our Anniversary speakers highlighted today,it’s all about family. Grandparents and parents ensuring the safety net they created will remain for their children and grandchildren. It’s a commitment the National Committee made 25 years ago and will continue for many more years to come.

1 comment:

cjd said...

It was an historic luncheon and gathering of people who witnessed and are part of the social contract. The importance of NCPSSM's work became crystal clear when James Roosevelt Jr. read two letters that easily could have been written today but in fact were written to his grandfather FDR.