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Updated: Sep. 25 (08:43)

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Action Center
January 27, 2012
Posted On: Jan 29, 2012

 

One Million Strong
 
Organizers file more than 1 million signatures to recall Walker Organizers of the effort to recall
Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday filed what they said were more than a million signatures, a number that nearly matches Walker's vote total from 2010 and almost doubles the number of signatures needed to trigger another election. United Wisconsin, the organization formed to recall the governor, said it turned in about 1.9 million signatures to the Government Accountability Board, a tally that includes 845,000 signatures to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and more than 21,000 apiece for Republican Sens. Pam Galloway of Wausau, Van
Wanggaard of Racine and Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls. Earlier in the day, the group working to recall Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, filed 20,600 signatures.
It’s not over until all the ballots are cast but Governor Walker is worried. So worried he’s trying to raise 100 million dollars. Can you imagine 100 million just for the governor’s race?
The darling of the Republican Party is raising money from every rich person to save the agenda of killing off organized labor. As Dr. Martin Luther King said “we shall overcome”
 
Social Security
Giving the people who pay into the Social Security
and Medicare system a voice
 
After watching months of haggling over the debt ceiling and the federal deficit and seeing the supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement, older Americans who rely on Social Security and Medicare for their health and economic security now know that their benefits will not be cut in a package to reduce the deficit, for now.
 
Throughout this debate, thousands of Americans 50-plus urged negotiators in Congress not to touch Social Security and Medicare benefits. They recognize that these programs need to be strengthened, but they are tired of politicians in Washington trading away the benefits they have earned and paid for throughout their working lives. They want a voice in that discussion, and they feel like they've earned it. It's time to bring this debate out from behind the closed doors of congressional caucuses and a super committee and give the people who pay into Medicare and Social Security a voice.
 
Together, we need to start a national discussion on strengthening health and retirement security for hard-working Americans. Let's start by recognizing the role of Social Security.
Social Security is the cornerstone of retirement security for the vast majority of Americans. Without any changes, it can pay all promised benefits until 2036 and roughly 75 percent of benefits after that. Social Security is not in crisis, but as you have told us, we need to do something — the sooner the better — to extend its life for generations to come. Social Security does not need a radical overhaul. And we can restore it to long-term solvency without making damaging benefit cuts, especially for current recipients.
 
A national conversation on Social Security should be guided by some basic principles. For starters, any changes to Social Security should be considered as part of a broader challenge of helping Americans prepare for a secure retirement, especially as other sources of retirement income — such as pensions, savings and home equity — crumble. If you pay into Social Security, you should receive the benefits you've earned over a lifetime of hard work. Your Social Security benefits should keep up with inflation for as long as you live. You should continue to be covered in case you become disabled and can no longer work, and your family should continue to be protected if you die.
 
Options to Strengthen Social Security
  • Revise the payroll contribution base (e.g., increase the amount of income subject to the FICA payroll tax to the historical level of 90% from today's 85%; to $202,500 from today's level of $110,100).
  • Include newly hired state and local government employees in the Social Security system.
  • Revise the benefit formula (e.g., raise the work years used to determine benefits from 35 to 38).
  • Change the cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Increase the payroll tax rate for employees and/or employers (currently 6.2% of wages).
  • Reduce benefits for the wealthy while maintaining benefits for those who are less well off.
  • Change the normal retirement age (it is going up to 67 under current law).
 
Q: What does it mean to call Social Security and Medicare "entitlement" programs?
 
A: The truth is, Social Security and Medicare should be called "earned benefits," not "entitlement" programs. You don't get these benefits as a birthright. They are based on a lifetime of payroll contributions from your work (as well as, for Medicare, your ongoing premium payments). The word "entitlement" makes these benefits sound like something you didn't earn and don't deserve. Maybe that's why lawmakers who demand cuts in Social Security and Medicare use the term so often. We must never let our leaders forget the beneficial impact these programs have had on the quality of life for older Americans and for people with disabilities. They have reduced poverty, enabled better health, and played a vital role in protecting the health and economic security not only of the most vulnerable but also of America's middle class.
 
Politicians should not be allowed to tamper with Social Security or Medicare without a national debate. People like Representative Paul Ryan believe that these programs have out lived their useful life. Just ask anyone who has to rely on Social Security or Medicare if these programs should be tampered with? You will get a resounding No! We can spend billions or trillions on war but we can’t find the money to take care of our own. Now is the time to be an advocate. Ask every person running for any office what their position is about social Security and Medicare. If you hear that is needs to be changed not strengthened they should not get your vote.
 
Chrysler Employee Verification
 
This is the number for employment verification for Chrysler and the code signifies KEP.
1-800-367-5690 Code 11821
 
By-Law Changes
 
Two minor by-law changes will be read, discussed and voted upon at the February 2, 2012 Regular Membership Meeting at 7:00 pm.
 
Some Questions and Answers
 
What is imputed income? Imputed income is the value of a benefit that are not paid in cash, but are subject to federal, state, local taxes and social security tax. The benefit most of us we receive is the Legal Service Plan and that will increase the amount on your W-2. The benefit is there for everyone to use. Imputed income is not new. We have had it for about 20 years. The United State Congress took away favorable tax treatment for group legal services plans, effective June 30, 1992. Prior to that time the money that it takes to run the plans, the employer’s payments to the legal services plan, was tax exempt to you. While it was income, just like wages and other benefits such as health, dental and vision coverage, there was a special section of the tax code, which kept you from being taxed on it. That provision, called Section 120 of the Internal Revenue Code, expired on June 30, 1992 and has never been reenacted. Instead you are required to pay taxes on that amount based on your individual tax bracket which ranges from 15% to 33%. That means that for most members the actual tax is between $12 and $25 depending on your tax bracket. The letter that was sent to you comes each year and is just explaining to you that you’re W-2 will reflect the amount of income you received.
 
How soon will I receive my W2 and my 1099 for retirement payments? W-2’s are mailed out sometime in mid to late January.
 
Where can I get a copy of my W2 or my 1099R? Copies of either can be obtained by calling Benefits Express 1-888-409-3300
 
How can I get a copy of my W-4's for previous years? Now that Payroll has been outsourced, you must call 877-827-7744 for their reprints of old W-2s, or for all Payroll Inquiries
 
Many of the online programs ask me for my CID. What is this and how do I find mine?
The CID, or Chrysler ID, is a unique "person number" that Chrysler Group uses to identify individual employees, retirees, pension recipients, etc. Think of it as a replacement for Social Security Number. If you are a Chrysler Group retiree or surviving spouse (or other pension recipient) your CID is printed on the middle section of the pension statement mailed to your home.

 
Woman, 93, Who Cleaned State Capitol, Denied Voter ID
 
Marie Diamond of Think Progress is reporting that Thelma Mitchell, 93, will not be able to vote for the first time in decades because her old Tennessee state ID failed to meet new voter-ID regulations. Mitchell, who cleaned the state Capitol for more than 30 years, was accused of being an undocumented immigrant because she could not produce a birth certificate.
 
Mitchell, who was delivered by a midwife in 1918, never had a birth certificate. Mitchell told WSMV-TV that she went to a state driver's license center last week after being told that her old state ID from her cleaning job would not meet new regulations for voter identification. 
 
Diamond writes, a spokesman for the House Republican Caucus insisted that Mitchell was given bad information and should’ve been allowed to vote, even with an expired state ID. But even if that’s the case, her ordeal illustrates the inevitable disenfranchisements that result when confusing voting laws enable state officials to apply the law inconsistently.
 
How sad is it that this woman, who literally cleaned the state Capitol -- a former state employee -- is being denied the right to vote with an ID issued by the state. This is just another example of how some of these voter-ID laws will be used against the poor and disenfranchised. It's not about getting new identification -- it is about states refusing the proof of identification that you already have.
 
We won't even mention the fact that black Americans are not immigrants. Many of us have been here longer than those checking IDs and the families of those passing these ridiculous laws in order to "take back" a country that was never theirs in the first place.
 
How ironic is it that the election of the nation's first black president has coincided with the passage of laws that will deny the right to vote to people who survived de facto segregation and gained the right to vote during their lifetimes? Is this what we call a democracy?

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