Sanders speaks out against cuts day before deficit meeting
Staff Report | November 15,2012
Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, hosted a summit meeting today on Capitol Hill with seniors, the disabled, labor and other grassroots groups united to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from budget cuts.
The summit was held one day before President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are to meet at the White House on ways to reduce deficits and avert automatic Jan. 1 spending cuts and tax increases.
“There are fair ways to reduce the $1 trillion federal deficit and $16 trillion national debt, but balancing the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children and the poor is not among them,” Sanders said. “We are here today to send a very loud and very clear message to the leadership in the House, in the Senate and in the White House: Do not cut Social Security; do not cut Medicare, do not cut Medicaid and do not provide more tax breaks to the top 2 percent who are doing phenomenally well and in many cases have never had it so good.”
Social Security has not contributed a dime to the deficit. It has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay all benefits for the next 21 years. Despite this, one of the most talked-about ideas on Capitol Hill is a revision in how inflation is calculated that would cut annual cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security for seniors, disabled veterans and military retirees.