Apr 10 2013
HARTMANN: And Bernie Sanders is here with us. Welcome. Boy, you’ve got a lot on your plate. I understand you delivered a couple of million petitions to the White House. I called the White House comment line this morning and said ‘No’ to the chained CPI. What’s going on?
SANDERS: Well, just a couple of hours ago we had a rally with the AARP and other senior groups. The AFL-CIO has been very strong on this issue, all of the veterans’ organizations have been strong on this issue, the National Organization for Women has been strong on this issue.
And, what people are saying is that at a moment in American History when the middle class is disappearing, and when so many people are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage, to buy the food they need, the healthcare that they need, now is not the time for the President of The United States, elected by many of these people, to be talking about making rather significant cuts in Social Security and benefits for our disabled vets. It’s wrong and it’s wrong public policy. It is not what the American people want.
The truth of the matter is we are in the deficit situation we are in now, (and by the way we have made real progress in lowering the deficit in recent years), because of two unpaid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country, and most importantly, the Wall Street caused recession which has resulted in a substantial reduction in revenue coming in to the Federal coffers.
Right now, Thom, corporate profits are at an all time high, the wealthy are doing phenomenally well and we must not balance the budget on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country when you have 1 out of 4 major corporations paying zero in Federal income taxes. When you have at the Federal level, a corporate tax rate at 12 percent which is the lowest that it has been since 1972. So yeah, we want to move toward deficit reduction while at the same time we must create the millions of jobs our people need. But we cannot balance the budget on the backs of people who are already hurting. We must not cut Social Security or benefits for disabled vets.
And, let me tell you something, don’t let anybody fool you by saying, ‘this is just a tweak. It adjusts the way on how we calculate the cost of living increases.’ We are talking about in ten years, if you’re 65 today you’ll get $650 dollars a year less and by the time you’re 85 you’ll get over a thousand dollars a year less. When you are trying to live on $15,000 or $16,000 dollars a year that is a big hit. And if you are a disabled vet, over a thirty year period you are talking about tens of thousands of dollars less that will be coming in to your pocket and that’s not how you treat these people.
HARTMANN: And none of this is going to balance the budget, and all of this could easily be solved by simply letting rich people pay into the Social Security funds the way the rest of us do.
SANDERS: We have legislation in that would lift the cap. I hope most people know that right now, somebody who earns a $113,000 dollars a year contributes the same amount into the Social Security Trust Fund as somebody who makes ten million. And that is wrong. And if you lift the cap we would start at $250,000 dollars you can make Social Security solvent for 50 years. Right now it is solvent for 20. So I think that is the direction that we have to go.
Listen to the entire interview with Thom Hartmann and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Thom’s Guest: Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont.
Take a look at Bernie Sanders’ website.
SONALI KOLHATKAR IS ON MATERNITY LEAVE.