Warren: ‘Thank God for Social Security’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called for an expansion of Social Security rather than cuts since many Americans are struggling to save for retirement with the poor economy.

Warren said Monday that lawmakers should be working on efficiencies to make the system stronger as the Baby Boomer generation reaches eligibility, but that those calling for a “chained CPI” — consumer price index — are wrong.

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“Chained CPI falls far short of the actual costs senior face. … It’s a fancy way of saying 'cut benefits',” Warren said on the Senate floor. “We should be talking about expanding Social Security benefits not cutting them.”

A chained CPI would reduce the annual increase for cost-of-living of beneficiaries, but would expand the life of the program. 

Warren pointed out that two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security as their sole income and that the program keeps millions out of poverty.

“Social Security is rapidly becoming the only lifeline that seniors have to keep their heads above water,” Warren said. “Yet some in Washington are fighting to cut benefits.”

Lawmakers are working to complete a budget conference report between the House and Senate by Dec. 13 and an omnibus spending bill is expected to follow. Some Republicans have said that entitlement cuts should be made to reduce the deficit, while Democrats have instead said taxes should be raised on the wealthy.

Warren said there are modest changes that could be made to Social Security — which is spending more money than it is currently taking in — but that benefit reductions are not the answer.

“The conversation about retirement and Social Security benefits isn’t a conversation just about math. … It’s about our values,” Warren said. “We support the right of every person to retire with dignity.”