Retirees using education to debunk Social Security, Medicare myths

The Retiree Council's Tom Beer distributed information during a presentation on Social Security in Fridley, hosted by Congressman Keith Ellison's office.

The Retiree Council’s Tom Beer distributed information during a presentation on Social Security in Fridley, hosted by Congressman Keith Ellison’s office.

Looking to combat popular myths and widespread misinformation surrounding Social Security and Medicare, the Minnesota State Retiree Council, AFL-CIO, is bringing a presentation on the federal safety-net programs to churches, union halls and civic centers across the state this election year.

Tom Beer, president of the retiree council in Minneapolis, said the presentations are designed to generate discussion about the value of Social Security and Medicare and to “give people a sense of optimism that these programs, which are so essential, can be improved and protected and maintained.”

Beer gave the presentation at a senior citizen forum Monday at the Fridley Community Center. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s office hosted the forum, although the congressman was too sick to attend.

The program debunked several myths: that the Social Security Trust fund is going broke, that Congress is using it as a checkbook and that privatizing Medicare would cut costs and improve service.

The facts, Beer said, are that Social Security is fully funded for the next 15 years, and turning Medicare into a voucher system would “only make it less available, more costly and less likely to solve our general health care and medical delivery problems.”

To extend the solvency of Social Security without cutting benefits, retirees advocate for “scrapping” the payroll-tax cap that shields income earned above a designated amount – currently $118,500 – from Social Security deductions.

“Then you’ve got a system that is not only fully funded into the foreseeable future, but you could improve benefits,” Beer said.

The Retiree Council’s presentation can run 15, 30 or 60 minutes, depending on audience preference. To arrange a presentation for your group, contact the council at 651-227-7647 or 1-800-652-9004.

Learn more about the retiree council, an umbrella organization of union retiree clubs and local unions with retirees, at


  1. Tom Beer says:

    Thanks Michael for the great coverage of the event and the Retiree Council’s program.

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