Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bernie Calls for Expansion of Social Security

Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)
Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)

By Dan Roberts, Guardian UK
Democratic presidential hopeful renews calls for expansion of benefits and warns that Republicans will try to undermine Medicare and pensions

ernie Sanders cemented his appeal to older voters on Thursday with renewed calls for an expansion of social security and protection of Medicare from alleged assaults by Republicans.

Bolstering the two welfare programmes – providing pensions, disability and health insurance to millions of Americans – has long been at the heart of his pitch for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

But Sanders argued that the political debate was moving in his direction, particularly since many Democrats have distanced themselves from proposals floated by the White House two years ago that would have trimmed social security costs.
And he warned that Republican donors such as the Koch brothers were still seeking ways to undermine social security.

“The momentum is with us and not with them,” said the Vermont senator to chants of “Bernie, Bernie” at the Alliance for Retired Americans annual legislative conference in Washington.

“A few years ago if people talked about expanding social security, people would say you are nuts; we’ve got to cut social security. But because of the work done by ARA and trade unions and guess what: there was a poll two weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal and 61 to 20% of people said they wanted to expand social security.”

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for 2016, has also been emphatic about the need to protect the programme, but Sanders advocates paying for an expansion by eliminating the contributions ceiling for higher wage-earners.

“We are going to scrap the cap,” he told the ARA conference. “And very wealthy people are going to have to start paying their fair share. When we do that, not only do we extend the life of social security but we expand benefits too.”

Though some analysts have questioned whether this uncompromising approach will limit Sanders’ recent surge in the polls when it comes to appealing to less liberal Democrat voters, the Vermont senator argues his views are more mainstream than pundits appreciate.

“The views that we hold are the views of the overwhelming majority of the American people,” he told the ARA conference.

“Philosophers have told us that the great nations are judged not by how many millionaires and billionaires they have; great nations are judged by how they treat the most vulnerable in their country,” he added.

“The word is getting out that the country belongs to all of us and not just a handful of billionaires.”


+26 # Radscal 2015-07-10 14:29
“We are going to scrap the cap,”

That one action would make Social Security solvent beyond the foreseeable future.

Polls show that up to 80% of USians demand that the wealthy be required to pay the same rate into Social Security as the working poor, and that means "scrap the cap."
+18 # Walter J Smith 2015-07-10 18:42
The bipartisan Wall Street Party wants to destroy everything worth having in the US. That is why Obama is leading the charge to destroy the Constitution, through giving corporate lawyers & lobbyists the power to veto US legislation on anything and everything the way the WTO recently vetoed US Country of Origin required labelling. Now if it isn't labelled where it came from, we must assume it is toxic.
+10 # Dongi 2015-07-11 01:07
Once again Bernie Sanders hits the nail on the head this time appealing to a very important segment of the voting public; the old. And do they turnout to vote. Getting on their good side is a formula for election success. Go Bernie, go!
+9 # overanddone 2015-07-11 04:29
When wages started to fall for middle income Americans George HW Bush was president, When the retirement savings and housing equity of the middle class was eviscerated George W. Bush was president. With JEB as president what ever is left of middle class saving and safety net will be given to the rich then the fillings in our teeth won't be safe.
+7 # Henry 2015-07-11 07:09
The minimum Social Security payment also needs to be raised – by quite a lot. Imagine trying to pay even rent with $750 / month.
+9 # warrior woman 2015-07-11 07:18
"Bolstering the two welfare programmes – providing pensions, disability and health insurance to millions of Americans"

First, we should not allow calling these programs "welfare", they are earned benefits. People worked, contributed and paid for these benefits.

Second, some mention the WTO and trade, the Pope is starting to talk about them, as I, for one, have wished.

The ground is stirring and it is going to erupt once people start actually hearing what "can" be done.
+5 # progressiveguy 2015-07-11 08:05
To be sure, if republicans gain control of the White House along with maintaining control of congress, republicans will cut pensions and medicare. Although, Republicans represent the wealthy 1% of Americans, ignorant, poor, white voters will vote Republican and basically hurt themselves. It is a mystery to me why they vote Republican, considering that republicans haven't done a damn thing for them and never will.
+4 # Robbee 2015-07-11 08:46
bernie is progressivizing the conversation - go bernie!

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