The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sanders Statement on Deficit Commission Co-Chairs' Report


U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today issued the following statement
in response to a proposal by the co-chairmen of a White House deficit
commission, Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson:

"The Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan is extremely disappointing
and something that should be vigorously opposed by the American
people. The huge increase in the national debt in recent years was
caused by two unpaid wars, tax breaks for the wealthy, a Medicare
prescription drug bill written by the pharmaceutical industry, and the
Wall Street bailout. Unlike Social Security, none of these proposals
were paid for. Not only has Social Security not contributed a dime to
the deficit, it has a $2.6 trillion surplus.

"It is reprehensible to ask working people, including many who do
physically-demanding labor, to work until they are 69 years of age. It
also is totally impractical. As they compete for jobs with 25-year-olds,
many older workers will go unemployed and have virtually no income.
Frankly, there will not be too much demand within the construction
industry for 69-year-old bricklayers.

"Despite all of the right-wing rhetoric, Social Security is not going
bankrupt. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Social
Security can pay every nickel owed to every eligible American for the
next 29 years and after that about 80 percent of benefits.

"If we are serious about making Social Security strong and solvent
for the next 75 years, President Obama has the right solution. On
October 14, 2010, he restated a long-held position that the cap on
income subject to Social Security payroll taxes, now at $106,800, should
be raised. As the president has long stated, it is absurd that
billionaires pay the same amount into the system as someone who earns

"With the richest people in this country getting richer and the
middle class in decline, it is absurd that billionaires pay the same
amount into the Social Security system as someone who earns $106,800."

United States Senator for Vermont

(202) 224-5141