Melissa from Stinson Beach, CA

Faces of the Federal Budget

My father-in-law is a ranch manager on a cattle ranch. He's only 60 (which seems young to me), but after working on a ranch for more than 40 years (and serving in the military before that), still doing the same work, the same long days, the same 6-7 day weeks, for the same low wages, he feels old. He feels old in his back, in how easily he gets run down, in how physically exhausted he is at the end of the week. The one thing that keeps him going is the letter he gets from the Social Security Administration, which tells him how much he has earned in Social Security if he were to retire at age 62. I know the money he has paid into Social Security won't be enough to support him, and that our family will need to pitch in to help, but for a man who has worked as physically hard as he does, having that piece of paper really matters. It is a security blanket. A safety net. A way out. His ticket to a life without waking up at 3 am to change water, away from cutting hay all night long while it's damp, or spending his "day off" checking on a pregnant cow. He has earned the right to retire, not just because he's paid into Social Security since he was 16-years old, but because he's contributed so much to our economy and our society by doing the work he does -- trust me, you don't want his job! Every couple of months he brings out his letter from the Social Security Administration, and we talk about how it will work, how he'll survive, how he'll afford medical care until 65, whether he'll live to be 65 if he keeps working the way he does. So Congress, please remember my father-in-law, and the men and women of my generation in the exact same situation, before you try to change Social Security!

Melissa from Stinson Beach, CA | Map

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