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Now I recently was moderator and took part in the Conference on the Problems of the Older Worker which was sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Labor at Boston College. There experts in various fields were able to point out to employers the facts and figures about older workers' costs and productivity. I know I found that session most informative and I think others like it should be held on a regional basis across the country.
Th3 State law banning discrimination and hiring because of age is sound, and I feel efforts should be made to enforce it even more stringently. Perhaps there is a need for national legislation along the same line for those who are put out of work by collapse of a particular company or some other industrial change. There should be better facilities for retraining, job counseling, and placement. This, I think, is a joint responsibility of Government, labor, and management.
We in America are proud of our standard of living, the fact the average life expectancy has climbed to an all-time high of 70 years, but these extra years of life can mean nothing but prolonged tragedy if we do not allow people to work and remain active. Senator SMITH. Thank you, Mr. O'Friel.
STATEMENT OF MABEL STEVENS, BOSTON, MASS. Mrs. STEVENS. I have one or two problems that perhaps you men might be able to help on with regard to the older people. I am Mabel Stevens. I live at 9 Alexander Street, Dorchester. I am going to be 77 in January. I have worked very, very hard all my life.
Now, the point is, that I went down to the social security office because some of my friends were getting much more money than I was getting. They sat down and were very nice to me and went into it very deeply and showed me that when they made up the income of my husband they took the lean years and the fat years—this was before 1952—and then they rated what I was to get on this by the lean and the fat.
Now since 1952, if I understand rightly, they take only the good years; the lean years are thrown out. Now that does not give me the benefit of the work that I have done, see. I went in at the beginning of 1937 when it went in and I worked very much. I really worked until I was going on 69 so that I should have much more money.
I would like to ask the committee if you have anything to do with that, change that law, that the people who went into it in 1937, we had to wait a long time to get it and we had to work up to it. See that we get it and get as much as the people that come in and just need so many quarters and then they get much more money than we get.
Now could I ask one more question, please? Thank you.
We have not too many projects in Dorchester. Now we have one going up and it only contains 62 units and it has 1,200 applicants if I am right. Mr. McCormick was there when the post office was dedicated and he would do something for that party, not me, if he could but he could not do it. They have enough applicants right now.
There is another one out near Peabody Street, out in that direction. Now whether that is a little larger, whether it is the same, I do not know. Now we have one on the boulevard, City Point, corner of H and 8th Streets. I understand that there is a lot of quarreling, pros and cons and whys and wherefores, and that will be 900 units, so I understand. There are many of the landlords around there who are opposing it and there may be many more reasons why, because we will take some of the people from the houses that live in these homes around there and anywhere in Dorchester. So if it is possible for anybody in this room to find out what is holding up that project there and to see if it cannot be built as soon as possible.
That is all I have to say. Thank you very much.
Your remarks about everyone being treated equally under the social security program, I think this certainly should be reviewed and I certainly recommend that.
STATEMENT OF HYMAN COHEN, PRESIDENT, GOLDEN AGE CLUB,
GREATER BOSTON COUNCIL
Mr. COHEN. My name is Hyman Cohen and I am the President of Greater Boston Jewish Centers comprising 17 groups of about 2,500 members. I am also a member of the Jewish Community Center of the City of Quincy.
I was here at the morning session and I heard the speakers, all their griefs and reference to the nursing homes. Each one expressed that the nursing homes can be a lot improved provided they get financial aid. Some of them expressed the opinion that if financial aid would
be from the Federal Government it would be limited, if the Social Security Act would be amended as recommended by our President. Others expressed the opinion that the medical aid bill
should be passed and that will help the members, those that are over the age of 65 that are in need of nursing homes; that will help the nursing homes and it will help them a lot.
I wish that Senator Saltonstall would have been here now on the platform and I would ask him to face all these elderly people and state why he is against the medical aid bill. He has given several times several excuses why this and that, and that private enterprise will deal with a whole lot better. We have private enterprise insurance companies that are supplying aid, but those of us that are over 65 and have worked under social security are not asking for any charity. By the time we have worked, we have paid.
The millions of dollars that are accumulated in that particular fund are part of our income that we have contributed into that fund. The administrators, our Senators and our Congressmen, when the law is passed for the people there is someone that has to administer it and they are given the power to administer it. Now the Senators and some of the Congressmen are denying us, the elderly people, the right to which we are entitled. Even those that are working today that are not 65 yet, I don't think that any of them will deny that he is willing to pay one-tenth of a percent in order that this social security fund today should not be even touched for the benefit of the medical aid that the elderly will receive.
I would ask Senator Saltonstall that, let him answer that. He talks on television where people don't see him. Let him out to a mass meeting like we have today and face it and then I do not think he will be able to say that he is the real representative of the people of Massachusetts.
STATEMENT OF JOHN S. MURPHY, NATIONAL AND LOCAL PRESI.
DENT, RETIRED WORKERS OF AMERICA, LOCAL 201, IUE, AFLCIO
Mr. MURPHY. Senator Smith and members of the committee, my name is John S. Murphy. I am the national and local president of the Retired Workers of America, IUE, AFL-CIO, West Lynn, Mass.
I wish to record my organization as being in favor of the KingAnderson bill which would
provide medical care for the aged through the social security mechanism.
I have just a short resolution here that I will read. I had quite a speech made but I do not have time. I know, Senator, we can send in the rest of the material later.
Senator SMITH. It will be made a part of the permanent record if you will submit it.
Mr. MURPHY. Thank you very much. At a regular monthly membership meeting of the Retired Workers of America, local 201, IUE, AFL-C10, held at West Lynn, Mass., the following resolution was unanimously adopted:
Whereas there is certain legislation now pending in Congress known as the King-Anderson bill providing medical care for the aged to be administered through the social security system; and
Whereas social security is an insurance system which is paid for in a large part by the premium deductions from the worker's pay. It is a businesslike system that pays its own way, it is soundly financed to pay all benefits, it provides working people and their families disability protection, retirement protection, and survivor's protection in case of the worker's death, and there is no honest reason why it cannot now provide medical care protection; and
Whereas our organization represents thousands of retired workers throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the country who desire this dignified plan and who are opposed to charity medicine in any form, and
Whereas our organization has the unanimous support with New England district AFL-CIO and the 92 locals it represents, the aforesaid medical plan has the backing of all organized labor throughout the country: Therefore be it
Resolved, That we respectfully ask you to do all in your power to further the enactment of the aforesaid legislation for a medical plan for the aged based on social security.
STATEMENT OF ANNIE BUTLER, PRESIDENT, SENIOR CITIZENS
CLUB, PAWTUCKET, R.I.
Mrs. BUTLER. My name is Mrs. Annie Butler. I am president of the Senior Citizens Club of Pawtucket, R.I. The reason I am here today is to ask you gentlemen here on this bench, Will you get behind the President and do for him like we would want to do for you when we put you in these positions? What I want you to do, and I ask you simply, is get behind him on this medical aid on the social security because we have just got to the part where those people-me as well, I am 73 years old, and I have over 20 members in my club that are over 80, and I want you to try to do your best to get this medical aid for them.
I have some bills here that I can prove to you that it is a shame that this should happen in the richest country in the world. We talk about sending this and that to other countries, but I think myself that charity begins at home.
I have one bill here for 10 days: Doctor, $10; prescriptions, $2.70; insulin every week, $1.49; digitalis, $1; urine test, $1; blood test, $1; X-rays, $13, making a total of $32.19 out of $60 a month. Do you think that is fair?
I have another bill here, she is sick-she is very, very sick, this person, with sugar, and in 10 days she paid $32. Do you think that is fair?
I have a Mr. Henderson, $22 a day for the hospital. He has just died, and the wife is 84 years old and does not know how to pay this bill.
I have another one, she pays over $30 a month. She has had to give her home up because she could not meet the expenses of the home.
Now, gentlemen, would you like that on your mothers? No, you could not say that. So I am asking you, please, please, from all my heart, don't make her sign that pauper's bill because we will die on the street first.
Senator SMITH. Thank you, Mrs. Butler. STATEMENT OF JACK E. MOLESWORTH, REGIONAL CHAIRMAN,
YOUNG AMERICANS FOR FREEDOM, INC., BOSTON, MASS. Mr. MOLESWORTH. Senator and members of the committee, I appear before you as chairman of the Massachusetts chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, Inc., representing the position of that chapter.
Young Americans for Freedom, Inc., is a nonpartisan, conservative political organization similar in organization and objectives to our counterpart on the left, the ADA. You are doubtlessly aware of the nationwide conservative political revival which is reflected in Massachusetts by our recent formation. Nationwide we now have over 200 affiliated chapters with in excess of 20,000 members. In Massachusetts there are 12 active chapters, 10 college ones, with over 500 members.
I wish to present a strong stand against the administration's proposals to provide Federal medical care for the aged through the social security system, specifically the King bill (H.R. 4222), which will be a matter for consideration by Congress in its 1962 session.
Our current social security system rests on such an unsound financial base that it is in severe danger of complete collapse within the next 10 years. The anticipated income at present and scheduled future payroll tax increases to a maximum of 912 percent are insufficient to pay the current level of benefits, with the rapidly increasing number that are yearly becoming eligible to receive them, let alone higher benefits that Congress seems prone to vote almost every year. The inclusion of a very expensive medical aid benefit into the social security program would only serve to further undermine it and assure its ultimate collapse. The suggested increase in payroll taxes designed to finance this medical aid would fall way short of providing anything like the probable cost. The socialized medical program of Great Britain now costs that country 10 times the original estimate.
We feel that the further undermining of the social security system would serve to perpetrate a cruel hoax on our senior citizens, especially those of very modest means, by severely endangering the source upon
which many depend for the majority of their income. We further reject the plan where a poor working man making $5,000 or less per year would pay taxes for such medical benefits as those proposed, only to have a portion of the benefits go to millionaires who are well able to take care of themselves.
If this bill is passed, it will practically assure that those now in the age brackets of 20 to 50 will not receive the benefits they have been led to expect, as the money they have paid into the fund will by the time they are eligible have been completely dissipated with an increasingly large deficit being incurred every year. The social security system is now funding on a deficit basis with benefit payments exceeding contributions by an increasing proportion.
Finally, it is those in the age brackets under 39 years of age, which the membership of Young Americans for Freedom comprises, who will end up paying the bulk of the taxes, yet have no assurance of receiving any benefits in return. We emphatically reject this proposed financial suicide on the part of the Federal Government. We are sick and tired of the National Congress repeatedly running up Federal deficits which increase the Federal debt, the burdens of which we the younger members of society will have to bear long after most of those responsible for the debt have passed on.
We insist that at the present time adequate medical care is available for any senior citizen in need of it, regardless of his financial condition which makes the proposed program completely unnecessary. If Congress wishes to aid the senior citizens of the United States, the most important step it could take would be to cease its wild spending in excess of income, balance the Federal budget, and pass legislation to curb the monopoly power of labor unions which has allowed them to push wages repeatedly in many industries well in excess of increases in productivity.
The inflation resulting from these two major sources has done more to undermine the financial stability of our senior citizens than anything else in the past 20 years. We urge Congress to show the courage to help our senior citizens as well as all other citizens in the area where aid is so vitally needed; namely, the cessation of Federal policies that promote inflation.
STATEMENT OF MILDRED DEAN, PRESIDENT, THREESCORE CLUB,
AND PRESIDENT, FOREVER YOUNG, PROVIDENCE, R.I. Mrs. DEAN. I am Mildred Dean, president of the Threescore Club and Forever Young, member of two golden age clubs, and a member of three other clubs besides.
I am for help for our aged. I have been trying to work on it for a long time. We have wonderful people in Providence trying to do their best, but without your help they can do nothing. We are asking very little, just medical care through social security. I myself am a member of Blue Cross. Three years ago I went into the hospital and was operated on. I understood that with my pension of $64.80 a month that the Blue Cross took care of the expense. Here a few weeks ago I got a notice from a doctor saying I owed $15 for anesthetics. I do not think that that should have come through with a person on $64.80 a month.