Coming so soon after the announcement on Saturday of my first story in the Wall Street Journal, this seems an overkill of self-promotion, but I am immensely proud of an honor that occurred nearly simultaneously.
First, however, some background. In his 2005 State of the Union address, President Bush formally announced his intention to privatize Social Security. Such a momentous and dramatic change in a program that, across 70 years, has kept millions of people from poverty in their old age (including me) seemed a serious undertaking worthy of careful scrutiny.
And so I embarked on a research project to understand the underpinnings of Social Security along with the details and ramifications of privatization. As I did so over the following year while the president tried to cram his proposal down the nation’s collective throat, I (well, Crabby Old Lady, but you all know she and I are the same person, right?), wrote a long series of posts about what I learned.
(If you didn’t think privatization was a bad idea back then, consider where your personal Social Security fund would be now had it been invested in the stock market.)
It wasn’t easy untangling all the suggested versions of privatization and commentary pro and con. One of my best sources during that period of education (and since) on all things Social Security and Medicare was the website of the NCPSSM – The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. They cleared up a lot of questions for me and led me to other resources that helped too.
Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago, when I received an email from the NCPSSM telling me I had been selected
“...to receive an award in the electronic press category in recognition of your outstanding blog, Time Goes By”.
To mark its 25 years of advocacy, the NCPSSM held a celebration last Thursday, 12 June, at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. I was enormously disappointed that other obligations prevented me from attending, but I sent a video acceptance speech that I hope adequately expressed my pride in the award.
I’m sorry too that I didn’t get to meet my fellow awardee, Newsday’s Saul Friedman. His Gray Matters column has been a regular on my reading list for years and is a standard on the subject of aging that all newspapers should aspire to in this era of an aging population.
Here is the Committee CEO and president, and former Member of Congress, Barbara Kennelly, at the celebration last week to tell you a little about the organization. (5:40 minutes]
Medicare was enacted as an extension to Social Security in 1983, during the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. His daughter, Lynda Johnson Robb also spoke at the National Press Club gathering on Thursday. (1:26 minutes)
James Roosevelt, Jr., the grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who created Social Security during the Depression, spoke too. (2:21 minutes)
The NCPSSM website is crammed with useful information to help you understand Social Security and Medicare, including a column on the intricacies of Social Security, Ask Mary Jane, to which you can send your personal inquiries.
There is also the Committee blog, Entitled to Know, which is smart, clear and cuts through the political hype on these two programs. Senator John McCain has announced his intention, if elected president, to resurrect the Social Security privatization proposal. I think you’ll find the NCPSSM website and the blog worthwhile in the coming campaign months.
So this is a public thank you the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare for this award. I’m very proud to have been selected.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Linda Davis tells of a recent experience with her son that any mother - and father - will understand in Tread Softly, Heroes: On Meeting Seth Godin.]