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By U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I)
They're at it again. Billionaires like the Koch brothers, Pete Peterson, Stanley Druckenmiller and others are leading the charge to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
If they succeed, millions of senior citizens, working families, disabled veterans and children will suffer. We must not allow that to happen.
Today, the middle class is disappearing, real unemployment is extremely high, poverty is increasing and working families throughout the country are struggling to keep their heads above water economically. Meanwhile, the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider and the wealthiest people and the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well.
We must not balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.
As Vermont's senator, I have the honor of serving on the Budget Conference Committee which will be negotiating a new federal budget over the next few months – and where I am fearful that a deal could be struck to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
As the founder of the Defending Social Security Caucus, please stand with me, our friends at USAction and our coalition partners in demanding "No grand bargain in exchange for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits."
Let's be clear. Despite right-wing rhetoric, Social Security is not going broke. According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has a surplus today of $2.8 trillion and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible person for the next 20 years.
Social Security has not contributed to the deficit. Social Security is funded independently by FICA taxes, which are paid by workers and their employers.
The so-called chained CPI, which recalculates how COLAs are formulated, is not a "modest tweak." If the chained CPI went into effect today, a senior age 65 would receive $658 a year less in Social Security benefits when he/she is 75, and $1,100 a year less at age 85. Further, the average disabled veteran would lose tens of thousands of dollars in benefits over his/her lifetime.
Please stand with me today and demand that Congress and the president oppose any grand bargain that cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
When one out of four U.S. corporations pay nothing in federal income taxes, when Bush's tax breaks for the rich remain in place for many wealthy Americans, when the U.S. spends almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense there are much fairer and economically sound ways to address the budget than cutting programs desperately needed by the most vulnerable people in our country.
Let's go forward together.