Congress Extends a Few Tax Breaks for You

So Congress wasn’t totally Scrooge-like this holiday season, as members tossed a few tax breaks to the rest of us. They passed legislation to extend a number of tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. If they hadn’t, you wouldn’t be able to take various deductions and credits when filing your 2014 tax return. >> Discussion: How do you make the most of your money? Among the key tax breaks for individuals: IRA charitable deduction. Those 70½ and older …

Those Pension Cuts and What You Need to Know

Congress recently carved a hole in a 40-year-old pension law that has prevented employers from cutting benefits earned by those already retired. This change applies to people covered under multiemployer plans that are in critical financial shape. Here’s what you need to know: What is a multiemployer plan? This is a pension covering workers and retirees from more than one employer in the same or related industries, such as trucking or construction. (Most of them were established under collective bargaining between …

New Hampshire House Candidates Clash on Social Security

The two candidates for a competitive House seat in New Hampshire duked it out over the future of Social Security in an Oct. 28 debate, which was broadcast statewide. “I will go to bat every single day” for Social Security, said Democratic Rep. Ann Kuster. Branding the system’s financing problems “easy to fix,” she called for raising the Social Security wage base limit from its current level of $117,000. >> AARP Voter Education Guide Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia voiced greater …

What Civil Rights Trailblazers Taught About Leadership

The second in a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When introduced to Nelson Mandela in 1994, former AARP CEO A. Barry Rand first noticed the “quiet dignity” that the revered former South Africa president exuded. In a statement upon Mandela’s death, Rand also described the beloved Madiba’s “strong conviction, inspiring confidence, the wisdom of his years and experiences, and a strong moral character.” Rand concluded, “He was a man of purpose at peace with who …

Why Civil Rights Vets Keep Pressing On

The first in a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The civil rights struggles of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s were largely led by youth and college students, many who were members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or the NAACP Student Council. Now in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, some view their civil rights mission as a life’s work with no retirement in the plan. “I still have an interest in my people, …

Illinois House Candidates Lock Horns on Medicare, Social Security

The candidates in a battleground congressional district in Illinois disagreed about the impact for Social Security and Medicare of a Republican-passed plan crafted by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) during an Oct. 21 radio debate sponsored by AARP. Democratic challenger Ann Callis said that Ryan’s budget blueprint would open the door to privatizing Social Security and move Medicare to a “defined contribution” system. She has criticized her opponent, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), for supporting a plan that she says …