Social Security, Medicare Under Attack (Sen. Bernie Sanders)

Social Security and Medicare are likely to come under new attack at a “fiscal responsibility summit meeting” on Monday at the White House. The huge and growing national debt is a major problem which must be addressed, but there are ways of doing that without cutting Social Security benefits or decimating Medicare.

During the last decade the wealthiest people in our country have become wealthier while working people have struggled desperately to keep their heads above water. It would be a betrayal of the needs of the middle class of this country if we lowered Social Security benefits or raised the retirement age for Social Security eligibility.

The truth is that there is no crisis in Social Security. Social Security will remain solvent until 2041, according to projections by the system’s trustees. I am unalterably opposed to raising the retirement age or lowering benefits.

I will propose legislation to strengthen Social Security by lifting the cap on contributions that now allows upper-income wage earners avoid payments. It is absurd that billionaires are contributing the same amount into Social Security as those who earn $105,000 a year.

There is a financial crisis in Medicare, but it is directly related to the disintegration of our entire health care system – the most costly and wasteful in the world. The way to address that crisis is to join the rest of the industrialized world and create a national health care program guaranteeing health care for all.