from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
SANTA FE, N.M. - While most people are listening to the presidential candidates talk about cuts to Medicare and Social Security, it's the so-called congressional "super committee" that really counts. It has a broad mandate to consider spending cuts and tax changes to create a package of budget reductions worth $1.5 trillion in 10 years.
Although none of the state's congressional delegation is on the committee, Bess Velasquez, a spokeswoman for New Mexico AARP, says New Mexicans' opinions still can be heard.
"We actually have a special map at our website where people can go and basically sign an e-letter to let the 'super committee' know they don't want any cuts to Social Security or Medicare benefits as a means to solving our deficit issue."
In New Mexico, Velasquez says, cuts to Medicare and Social Security programs which seniors have earned and paid into, would have an immediate impact on the state's economy.
"Our concern is that the committee will focus on cutting benefits - issues like, under Social Security, they're looking at things like increasing the retirement age, which means people would have to work longer before they can access their benefits - and that would have an immediate effect on people."
For the government to remain solvent, some in Congress say, both programs need benefit cuts, but Velasquez says with prices up on everything from prescriptions to utilities, cuts to earned benefits could take a harsh toll on many.