One of the nation’s leading advocates for the Social Security program will be the keynote speaker at a public forum planned Saturday, October 19 at the Teamsters Local 120 union hall, 9422 Ulysses St. NE, Blaine. The free event will run from 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Sponsors for the event — “Social Security: Count on it!” — include the Minneapolis Regional Retiree Council along with assistance from the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, the Minnesota State Retiree Council, the Minnesota AFL-CIO, and the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service.

Keynote speaker Nancy J. Altman is president of Social Security Works and chair of the Strengthen Social Security coalition.

She has a 40-year background in the areas of Social Security and private pensions.

Altman currently serves as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board, a bipartisan, independent federal government agency established in 1994 to advise the President, Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security.

Altman is the author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) and The Truth About Social Security: The Founders’ Words Refute Revisionist History, Zombie Lies, and Common Misunderstandings (Strong Arm Press, 2018). She is also co-author of Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All (The New Press, 2015).

Altman has shared her Social Security expertise on numerous television and radio shows, including PBS NewsHour, MSNBC, and FOX News. She has published op-eds in dozens of newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Altman recently wrote, “as polarized as the American people are over many issues, we are not polarized about Social Security. Republicans, Democrats and Independents, of all ages, races and genders, overwhelmingly agree. We understand that Social Security is more important than ever. We overwhelmingly reject any cuts to its modest benefits.”

“Congress should address our nation’s looming retirement income crisis by increasing Social Security’s modest benefits,” Altman continued.

She added: “Congress should combat rising income and wealth inequality, by requiring the wealthiest Americans to contribute to Social Security at the same rate as the rest of us.”

“All of us who have a stake in Social Security—which is every one of us—should insist that those seeking our vote tell us if they support expanding or cutting Social Security,” Altman maintained. “If they refuse to tell us, if they ramble on about their desire to “save” or “fix” or “strengthen” Social Security in secret, we should draw the obvious inference: They want to cut Social Security. We should use the [2020] election to ensure they do not have the power to do that—and certainly not behind closed doors.”

From 1983 to 1989, Altman was on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and taught courses on private pensions and Social Security at the Harvard Law School. In 1982, she was Alan Greenspan’s assistant in his position as chairman of the bipartisan commission that developed the 1983 Social Security amendments.

Altman chairs the Board of Directors of the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of beneficiary rights. She is a member of the board of directors of the Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund and other groups.

In bringing Altman to Minnesota for the October 19 forum, “the goal is pretty ambitious,” commented Leif Grina, president of the Minneapolis Regional Retiree Council. “The event is going to be livestreamed nationwide.”

In addition to highlighting Social Security’s best-known function to provide earned retirement benefits, “we want people to remember that Social Security is insurance for disability and loss of income from the death of a father or mother,” Grina said.

Preserving Social Security “is not a fight about statistics and numbers,” Grina said. “It’s about people’s lives.”

For a link to the livestream that day, visit minneapolisunions.org.

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