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Economic security remains the number one problem
confronting older persons.
While some progress has been made in
recent years, the degradation and humiliation of poverty persists
in the lives of millions of older Americans.
While this country's
economic, industrial and medical progress have combined to permit
an increasing proportion of the population to reach old age,
circumstances have too often reduced the older person to a dependent condition, thus depriving him of his traditional function,
status and dignity.
The railroad workers of this generation have grown up
with the present system of railroad retirement.
They have the
right to expect that they will receive the benefits of the sys
tem which they have financed, and to be protected by this system from the creeping erosive effect of inflation on their economic
The legislation before this Committee, s. 3852,
recognizes the public commitment to railroad retirees, an obli
gation to meet their financial needs as payment for their many
productive years of hard work.
The Congress has shown leadership in raising public
benefit levels during the past two years in an attempt to arrest
the impact of inflation on retirement income purchasing power.
Unfortunately, these past increases proved to be only a temporary holding action against the onslaught of inflation. Despite the
1970/71 increases in public benefit levels, 4.7 million persons
age 65 and over
about one-fourth of the total older population
resided in households in which the aggregate income fell below
the poverty level.
The recent increase in Social Security is an unprecedented step toward providing older Americans with a moderate
standard of living.
For the first time, the Congress recognized
the need to provide older persons with benefit increases beyond
the level of meeting the prior impact of inflation on retirement
income purchasing power.
The substantial increase in Social
Security benefits will help lift many older Americans from the
The Congress must now act to pass similar benefits
along to those who rely upon other public retirement systems.
The present parity between Social Security and Railroad Retire
ment must be maintained
the Congress must act to provide a
20 percent increase in benefits for railroad retirees.
Our Associations are pleased to learn that the long
awaited report of the Commission on Railroad Retirement has been
As a contributor to the Commission, we are anxious to
review the recommendations of the panel.
We know that this
Committee will give attentive consideration to the recommenda
tions of the Commission and draft legislation which will most
benefit railroad retirees and future retirees.
One specific recommendation which we offered the
Commission bears directly on the legislation before this
THE NATIONAL RETIRED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION AND THE
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PERSONS BELIEVE THAT
EXCLUSIVE RELIANCE ON CONTRIBUTIONS SHOULD BE ABANDONED.
82-813 0 - 72 - 9
The burden of the regressive tax of railroad retirement is already onerous. Since each generation of workers bears the responsibility of supporting the nonproductive population and since Congress has the responsibility for assuring that the financial burden is distributed in the most equitable manner, our Associations believe that the general revenues must be
utilized to finance most future railroad retirement benefit
In acting favorably on s. 3852, Mr. Chairman, this
Committee will go a long way toward assisting many retired rail
road employees improve their quality of life and to live their
remaining years with dignity, independence and purpose.
(Thereupon at 5:30 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.)
(EXCERPTS FROM THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT SYSTEM: ITS COMING CRISIS)
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON RAILROAD
JUNE 30, 1972
THE COMMISSION ON RAILROAD RETIREMENT
KENNETH BLACK, JR., Vice Chairman
LOUIS W. MENK
PROFESSIONAL STAFF ANTHONY F. ABELL, M.A.
ALAN I. PENN, Ph. D. EDWARD F. BRAYER, M.A.
IRA E. RASKIN, M.A. MURRAY E. COHEN, M.A.S., A.S.A.
THEODORE ROSCOE SOPHIE R. DALES, M.S.
BURMAN H. SERABLE, Jr., Ph. D. ALDEN L. HEAD, A.S.A.
JAMES F. TONER, M.B.A. LUCY B. MALLAN, Ph. D.
VERNON C. VOGT, M.S. GEORGE BRUCE PALMER, III
EDWIN F. BOYNTON, F.S.A.***
BYRON L. JOHNSON, Ph. D.
ACTUARIAL ADVISORY PANEL DONALD F. CAMPBELL, F.C.A.
WALTER SHOR, F.S.A. John K. DYER, F.S.A., F.C.A.
DONALD B. WARREN, M.A., F.S.A. ROBERT J. MYERS, F.C.A., F.C.A.S., F.S.A.
FEDERAL ACTUARIAL ADVISORY GROUP MAURICE S. BROWN
CARL J. SINGER, A.S.A. JAMES L. Cowen, A.S.A., F.C.A.
CHARLES L. TROWBRIDGE, F.S.A. HERBERT L. FEAY, F.S.A., F.C.A.
WALTER E. Wilcox, M.S., A.S.A. CEDRIC W. KROLL, A.S.A., F.C.A
GENEVA M. COLEMAN, Office Manager MARGARET C. BORENGASSER
CATHERINE ANN GRADY PHYLLIS M. CALLAHAN
MICHAEL R. LOPEZ DOROTHY L. EVANS
MAUREEN A. MCCALL DAVID FRIDLING
AGNES L. Soos
* Appointed May 22, 1972, as management member; Mr. John P. Hiltz, Jr., served in the position until February 7, 1972.
**In addition, the following individuals who worked in a contract role rendered important service : Betti C. Goldwasser, Mary Frances leMat, Herbert Miller, Philip A. Ritz, and Hirst Sutton.
***The Commission's Actuarial Consultants under the terms of Public Law 91-377.