A letter from Bernie Sanders

Dear George,

They’re at it again.

Billionaires like the Koch Brothers, Pete Peterson, Stanley Druckenmiller and others are leading the charge to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

If they succeed, millions of senior citizens, working families, disabled veterans and children will suffer. We must not allow that to happen.

Today, the middle class is disappearing, real unemployment is extremely high, poverty is increasing and working families throughout the country are struggling to keep their heads above water economically. Meanwhile, the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider and the wealthiest people and the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well.

We must not balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.

As Vermont’s senator, I have the honor of serving on the Budget Conference Committee which will be negotiating a new federal budget over the next few months — and where I am fearful that a deal could be struck to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

As the founder of the Defending Social Security Caucus, please stand with me, our friends at Social Security Works and our coalition partners in demanding; “No grand bargain in exchange for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.”

Let’s be clear. Despite right-wing rhetoric:

  • Social Security is not going broke. According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has a surplus today of $2.8 trillion and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible person for the next 20 years.

  • Social Security has not contributed to the deficit. Social Security is funded independently by FICA taxes which are paid by workers and their employers.
Sign this petition.

The so-called chained-CPI, which recalculates how COLA’s are formulated, is not a “modest tweak.” If the chained CPI went into effect today, a senior aged 65 would receive $658 a year less in Social Security benefits when he/she is 75, and $1,100 a year less at age 85. Further, the average disabled veteran would lose tens of thousands of dollars in benefits over his/her lifetime.

Please stand with me today and demand that Congress and the President oppose any grand bargain which cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

When one out of four U.S. corporations pay nothing in federal income taxes; when Bush’s tax breaks for the rich remain in place for many wealthy Americans; when the U.S. spends almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, there are much fairer and economically sound ways to address the budget than cutting programs desperately needed by the most vulnerable people in our country.

Please stand with me and Campaign for America’s Future in protecting the future of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Let’s go forward together. Thanks for your continued support.


Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

A Tax Increase Republicans Support

Here’s a tax increase Republican lawmakers support

Associated Press

Graphic shows several examples of how health coverage might change for different people; 6c x 10 inches; 295.2 mm x 254 mm;

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Graphic shows several examples of how health coverage might change for different people; 6c x 10 inches; …

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress don’t usually fight for tax increases, especially ones that are part of President Barack Obama’s health care law.
     But GOP senators balked when Democrats proposed delaying a new temporary fee on everyone covered by health insurance.
     So employers, insurance companies and other health plan sponsors are in line to pay $63 a person next year for everyone who has coverage. The temporary fee covers all workers, spouses and dependents covered by health insurance.
     Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., proposed delaying the fee in recent budget talks with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell and other Republican senators objected; the fee was left intact.
     GOP senators complained the delay was basically a favor for labor unions, traditional Democratic allies that oppose the new fee.
     “It’s beyond ironic that the mantra from the president and the Democrats has been, ‘There can’t be any changes to Obamacare. After all, it’s the law of the land,'” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. “And then big labor comes along and wants a change and, lo and behold, there’s got to be a change.”
     But also opposing the fee are large employers, traditional Republican allies, even though in many cases the fee probably will be passed on to workers.
     “It’s a sizable expense. For some of my employers it’s millions of dollars a year and we don’t get anything from it,” said Gretchen Young, senior vice president for health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee, a group that represents large employers on benefits issues. “It’s definitely not solely a union issue.”
     Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said the proposed delay was meant to balance Republican demands for other changes to the health law. Republicans in Congress have been attacking the law since it was passed in 2010, and earlier this month, they forced a partial government shutdown over Obama’s refusal to negotiate changes.
     Cardin said he didn’t want any changes in the law to be part of the deal for reopening the government and extending the country’s ability to borrow. In the end, the only change was an income verification procedure for people applying for tax credits to help them purchase health insurance.
     The temporary fee on people with health insurance is designed to raise $25 billion over the next three years.
     The money will provide a cushion for insurers from the initial hard-to-predict costs of covering previously uninsured people with medical problems. Under the law, insurers will be forbidden, effective Jan. 1, 2014, to turn away applicants who are ill.