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Women voters turned out in November in significant numbers. The gender gap on Election Day meant 55% of women voted for Obama, with higher percentages helping win key swing states.

The Obama campaign focused heavily on women's issues, knowing their vote was key to victory for all Democrats.  That's not surprising, since women voters make up over 54% of the electorate.

While we've come to expect the GOP to work against the best interests of women on a variety of issues, we can't allow Obama and our own Democratic Party leadership to follow suit.

Several days ago, the National Women's Law Center issued a shocking report highlighting the disproportionate effect of the Chained CPI on retired women.  This is a very informative report, illustrating many of the changes that have the potential to harm retired and elderly women.

It's no secret that women earn less than men over their lifetime, often moving in and out of careers to handle child-rearing and other family responsibilities. They also tend to live longer than men, leaving them to go deeper into poverty as they age.  The Chained CPI proposal puts them at greater risk of poverty than men in their retirement years.  According to the studies by NWLC

The average Social Security benefit for women 65 and older is about $12,700 per year.

Social Security is virtually the only source of income for nearly three in ten female beneficiaries 65 and older.

Without Social Security, nearly half of women 65 and older would be poor.
Social Security provides benefits to over 3.2 million children and lifted over 1.1 million children out of poverty in 2011.

What NWLC wants you to share

   

1. It cuts Social Security benefits.  Adjusting benefits for inflation maintains their value over time.  Using the chained CPI would reduce the value of benefits by about 0.3 percent each year.

    2. Cuts get deeper every year.  A reduction of 0.3 percent a year really adds up over time.  The cut in the value of benefits would equal the cost of a week’s worth of food each month by age 80 and nearly two weeks’ worth by 95 for the typical single elderly woman.

    3. It cuts benefits for today’s beneficiaries.  Switching to a new COLA will affect everyone receiving benefits – as soon as it goes into effect.

    4. It particularly hurts women. The chained CPI is a triple whammy for women – because they typically live longer, rely more on income from Social Security, and are more likely to be poor than men.

    5. It is less accurate. While some policy makers have billed the chained CPI as a “technical fix” even the current measure of inflation underestimates the increased cost of living the elderly face because it doesn’t account for their higher health care spending.

We need to fight the Chained CPI because it has a negative impact on all retirees who rely heavily on Social Security.  But we have to recognize that it has a disproportionate effect on elderly women.  We need to show that we care about women's rights, not just on issues related to reproductive rights and access to education and affordable health care, but also on issues related to those years when they're most vulnerable - retirement and old age.  These cuts will not only harm today's retirees, but women of all ages when they reach the age for Social Security eligibility.

Thanks for all you do. Please call the WH and your members of Congress to put an end to changes to Social Security that harm the most vulnerable among us. Please click the NWLC link above and share their fact sheets and graphs with everyone you know.

Originally posted to Betty Pinson on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, and Social Security Defenders.

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