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Retirees in Action

   Jim Carr  A message from PEF Retiree President Jim Carr

We’re facing pandemic’s many challenges together

Birds are singing and flowers are blooming in the midst of a world pandemic — “Tomorrow birds will sing,” Stevie Wonder, and “Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine, and all this darkness past,” Bruce Springsteen.

In other words, tomorrow is a place where things will get better. It is in our DNA as Americans to believe tomorrow is a place where everything will get better.  Hope in this new era of Coronavirus is a commodity more precious than gold.

It is hard for our frontline heroes — doctors, nurses, first responders, and essential workers of all kinds — not to wonder about tomorrow when they are on the frontlines of this deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

We need only to have bills to pay, family to protect and keep safe to surely despair, to have a sense of being inundated by events beyond our control. We need not be a heroic doctor or nurse to know that feeling of despair.

We must breathe, exercise, walk, stay in touch with love ones and friends as we look forward to a better time in a new post-pandemic reality —

a time of new reality where everything could change and we are all affected in one way or another.  Businesses, both large and small, farms, our health care system, food supply, state and local governments are all being negatively affected.

Considering all of the death and devastation during this pandemic, unfortunately we have still have politicians such as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said, “States should go bankrupt” because “Congress shouldn’t bail out Blue states.”

New York is facing huge budget deficits because the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the major loss of revenue from taxes that support police, fire fighters, hospitals, first responders, state and local workers’  jobs, health insurance and pensions for retirees.

Despite of all of the facts and data on deaths and suffering, politicians like McConnell continue their partisan pettiness. New Yorkers pay far more tax dollars to the federal government than our state gets back.  We have been subsidizing the federal government for years paying more into the federal coffers then we get back.  Meanwhile, McConnell’s home state of Kentucky receives far more federal dollars than its residents contribute –making New York a donor state and Kentucky a taker (welfare) state.

It is unfair, and if you want to do something about it, contact your U.S. Senators and state and local government elected representatives. You should also write Letters to your local papers, supporting state workers, retirees and your union.

If you haven’t already done it, you must fill out your Census form and send it in, because our representation in Congress and our funding is largely based on our population figures from the Census.

Most of important of all is to vote for candidates who respect and support your interests as a former state employee, a retiree and proud PEF Retirees member.  Remember that tax revenues pay for your job, wages, and benefits and health Insurance and pension contributions in your working years. Whatever you do, don’t vote for a candidate who wants to cut taxes, suspend payroll tax, cut or defund Social Security and Medicare. defund pensions and bankrupt state and local governments.

Many of the earned benefits we enjoy are under attack by well funded anti-union, anti-pension, anti-Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid forces.  Politicians may promise to protect these things that you rely on, and then turn around and do the opposite after they are elected.

They will use the deficit that they created as a justification to destroy Americans’ safety net.  For example President Trump in April stated his desire to cut the payroll tax that funds Social Security.  Such a move will undermine Social Security’s dedicated funding stream, threatening the earned benefits of current and future retirees.  President Trump must not be allowed to use Coronavirus crisis as a pretense for weakening the retirement and health care seniors have earned over our lifetime.

Please call your federal elected officials and tell them we need them to step up and support New York.  We need help from the federal government for our citizens who lost their jobs, our hospitals and small businesses, and for our state and local governments that have been stretched beyond their limits to respond to this long, painful emergency.

Take care to protect yourself.  Stay home, stay safe, exercise, breath deeply. Stay informed and be well.


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