U.S. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Math is clear: It's wrong to cut Social Security
March 31, 2013 2:40 AM

Last weekend, syndicated columnists Cokie Roberts and her husband Steven called me arithmetically ignorant for rejecting cuts to Social Security benefits (“Lawmakers on both sides fail math tests,” March 24). Really. Let’s talk arithmetic.

Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay 100 percent of promised benefits for the next 20 years. Further, Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. As President Ronald Reagan said, “Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee.

If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security Trust Fund. So, Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.”

Making millionaires pay the same percentage of their income into Social Security as someone earning $113,000 would extend the life of Social Security for generations to come without the need to cut benefits or raise taxes on the middle class.

That adds up to me, and that’s why I’ve introduced legislation to do just that.

On the other hand, cutting COLAs for Social Security and disabled veterans through a so-called “chained CPI” would make it much harder for the average senior living on $1,200 a month to make ends meet, while doing very little to improve Social Security’s finances. Yes, we must move forward on deficit reduction, but not on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent-Vt.

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