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Stories from Main Street: Catie Sager, RN, says everyone deserves to retire with dignity.

Blog, 8/16/11

For years, Americans believed if we worked hard, took care of our families, and followed the rules that we would eventually be allowed to retire with dignity.
 
That’s not the case anymore.
 
The economic crisis – the situation created by greedy Wall Street executives — has forced older workers to keep punching the time clock each day rather than enjoy the senior years of their lives.
 
Catie Sager, an RN who works in Leawood, Kan., tells the story of her parents. Her father has struggled with medical problems. Her mother keeps working as they exist paycheck-to-paycheck. Sager lives with them and helps pay the mortgage. Health woes forced Sager’s mother to take money out of her 401(k) to help pay the mounting medical bills.   
 
The Orlando Sentinel did a story recently about how even people with health insurance can’t afford treatment and are declaring bankruptcy.
 
Her parents’ retirement plan — like too many Americans – is being pushed back again and again. They had wanted to retire in their mid 60s. Now, her mother is prepared to work until at least 75.
 
National Nurses United, the largest union and professional organization of registered nurses with 170,000 members across the U.S., has collected hundreds of stories of people who are struggling in these hard economic times.
 
These stories are part of our campaign for a new Main Street Contract for the American People.  It’s a movement where everyone in our country will have jobs at a living wage, access to quality education, guaranteed healthcare for all, good housing, protection from hunger, a healthy environment, and a just taxation system.
 
Sager’s video highlights another goal: A secure retirement and the ability to retire with dignity.
 
The overall labor force participation rate for older adults has grown to 40 percent – the highest level since 1975, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
 
This trend will continue to grow, the institute reports, because people need access to health insurance and can’t afford to retire.
 
That’s why the Main Street contract for the American People is so important.  And, why we support taxing Wall Street transactions, a move that would raise more than $350 billion that could be reinvested in America.  
 
In our country, we have a right to retire with dignity.
 
Please share your own story of how our country’s financial downfall is hurting you and learn more about the Main Street contract.  Go to www.mainstreetcontract.org for more details, or submit your own story here.

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