To the Editor:

Medicare and Social Security are cornerstones of retirement for 47 million seniors.  In New Jersey, there are over 1.3 million Medicare beneficiaries and more than 1.44 million Social Security beneficiaries, 22 percent of whom rely on their monthly checks for 90 percent or more of their income.

Slashing these programs to balance the budget on their backs violates an American promise to our nation’s seniors. 

Seniors need peace of mind.  They need to know that Medicare guarantees affordable health care.  They need to know that Social Security is always there.  They need to know that their hard-earned benefits will be honored.  They do not need new economic burdens. 

Reducing the deficit and controlling government spending are important.  Arbitrarily cutting Medicare and Social Security is not the way to do this.  Limiting how much care Medicare will provide could force seniors to pay higher premiums and co-pays.  Trimming Social Security payments denies seniors money they currently count on.

Political leaders must know that to seniors, Medicare and Social Security are more than line items in the federal budget.  They are pillars of stability.  They offer health coverage and income to live on in retirement.  They are the foundation of the American Dream.

Recent proposals to target Medicare and Social Security for harmful cuts are unfair to America’s seniors who have earned the peace of mind these programs guarantee.  Instead of putting seniors’ health and income security in jeopardy, politicians need to find a better way to solve our nation’s budget problems.

Sy Larson

AARP New Jersey State President

East Brunswick