Retirees demonstrate against proposed Social Security reductions

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tuesday was a national day of action called by the Alliance for Retired Americans. Demonstrations were conducted around the country and in four Indiana cities. 

The goal is to prevent reductions in Social Security benefits.

Republican leaders in Congress want to tie future Social Security benefits to a calculation known as the "chained CPI."  It would result in lower benefits than the ones now tied to the Consumer Price Index.

Ron Long was leading chants Tuesday morning outside the downtown office building where both Senator Joe Donnelly and Senator Dan Coats maintain state headquarters. 

He is one of a group of activists, mostly retirees, who oppose changes in Social Security. 

"It's not something that's gonna (sic) affect me tomorrow," he said, "but in the next six months I'm sure that I would feel that."

Back home in Speedway, Long admits that he and his wife Chris could likely cope with smaller Social Security checks.  The annual benefit would drop an estimated $1,000 a year if the GOP plan is adopted.  Long, a retired auto worker, has a pension but he's also worried about others. 

"And it's not an entitlement," he said.  "I worked 40 years, I retired and I was promised that benefit.  I should receive it."

And so, Tuesday afternoon Long and the others were out demonstrating again, this time outside the office of Congressman Andre Carson.

Inside, Carson spelled out a friendly position. 

"Those seniors who have worked hard all their lives," he said, "certainly deserve what they've put into Social Security."

Yet even while Carson came outside to greet Long and the others, even to receive praise, the Democratic Congressman also believes that change in the Social Security system is required and that ways must be found to keep it solvent.  Congressman Carson is not yet endorsing a specific plan.  He says experts are still working on finding solutions that work.

The demonstrations may be just beginning.

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