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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

well-being.

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.

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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

poverty level.

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

filed.

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

Committee:

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

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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

increases.

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.

Thank you.

(Thereupon at 5:30 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.)

Appendix

(EXCERPTS FROM THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT SYSTEM: ITS COMING CRISIS)

THE
RAILROAD
RETIREMENT SYSTEM:
ITS COMING CRISIS

REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON RAILROAD

RETIREMENT

JUNE 30, 1972

THE COMMISSION ON RAILROAD RETIREMENT

MEMBERS
THEODORE 0. YNTEMA, Chairman

KENNETH BLACK, JR., Vice Chairman
CHARLES L. DENNIS

LOUIS W. MENK
GEORGE E. LEIGHTY

STAFF
MICHAEL S. MARCH, Ph. D., Executive Director

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.***
WILLIAM W. FELLERS, F.S.A.***
ROBERT J. GALIA, M.S.
ALTON O. GROTH, M.S., F.S.A.
LEON G. HUNT, Jr., M.A.

CONSULTANTS**

BYRON L. JOHNSON, Ph. D.
ROBERT E. LARSON, Ph. D., F.S.A.
DAN M. MCGILL, Ph. D.
GEORGE F. ROHRLICH, Ph. D., Dr. Jur.
ROBERT J. TOWNE, F.S.A.

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

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

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.

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