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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Senator Sanders warns of Social Security Benefits cut deal with $14 Trillion dollar debt

Scanned image of author's US Social Security card.Image via Wikipedia
Senator Bernie Sanders warns of the
Obama Administration non-commital
stance on not cutting future Social Security
benefits to deal with nations' debt.
Americans are experiencing a one year deduction in the payroll Social Security tax, from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent after President Obama signed the Tax Cut Legislation of 2010. But, the deduction could come at the expense of future benefits from the program after reaching their ‘golden years’.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has recently noted his concerns that the retirement program may be on the White House chopping block in the near future.  Senator Sanders expressed deep uneasiness about President Barack Obama's noncommittal attitude toward staving off cuts to the cherished program in an article on Raw Story.
"I have to tell you, I have been on the phone to the very, very, very highest levels of the Obama administration, and the responses that I am getting are not assuring," Sen. Bernie Sanders stated. "What I’m told is that no definitive decisions have been made on the issue of Social Security – I expect that is probably true."
A growing number of Progressive activists, fearing cuts to the Social Security program could be on the table in a future bipartisan deal, have launched a campaign to pressure the White House and Congress to oppose cuts.  Sanders known as a Progressive lending Independent in the Senate has step-up to the plate to confirm their concerns, based on knowledge drawn from his relative vicinity to the president.
"What I’m hearing does not reassure me – that we have a president who is not prepared to defend the heart and soul of what the Democratic Party has been about since Franklin Delano Roosevelt," said Sanders.  Obama "could have said that’s not on the table," Sanders said to Raw Story. "He didn’t say that."
On Friday, January 14th Senator Sanders wrote a letter to President Obama encouraging him stick by his campaign promise to oppose cuts in Social Security benefits, as Congressional leaders will soon engage in debates on ways to cut the $14 Trillion dollar national debt.

One of the factors of concern was President Obama decision to appoint two longtime opponents of Social Security, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, to co-chair his deficit commission. 

In the commission final report on ways to cut the nations’ debt, both Simpson and Bowels along with a majority of committee members agreed with trimming future Social Security payouts by increasing the retirement age. 

For recipients of the program born after 1960, the age to reach full benefits changed in the Reagan Administration from 65 to 67 years old. Concerns are now surrounding that Congressional leaders could push the age to 70.

Sanders believe with the Republicans controlling the House, President Obama will find it difficult to return Social Security funding back to 2010 levels. In the end, Senator Sanders believes that the lack of revenue going into the program will leave the Obama Administration with no choice but to raise the retirement age to protect future payees.
"I believe very strongly that it will be very, very difficult to undo this one-year program," Sanders said. "Republicans will say it is a tax increase on workers, and they control the House." Indeed, GOP lawmakers have since admitted they have no intention of letting the payroll tax return to its original, higher level in a year.
"So what the president has done is walked us in an unprecedented direction in terms of diverting huge amounts of money from Social Security," Sanders said. "A very, very, very dangerous precedent. And when aides of his such as (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers) Austan Goolsbee were asked to reflect on this, he chose not to do so."
Recent polls have shown strong public opposition to proposals that would reduce the scope of payments from the Social Security program for future retirees. The Social Security Trust Fund had surplus of $2.6 trillion in 2010 and is expected to remain solvent in its current form until 2037, according to its trustees report.

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