San­ders De­fends So­cial Se­cu­rity from Wall Street At­tacks

Stanstead Journal - - FROM PAGE 1 - Manch­ester, N.H.

U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.) re­cently con­fronted crit­ics of So­cial Se­cu­rity as they launched a na­tion­wide mis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign. San­ders took on the self-styled “Come­back Amer­ica Ini­tia­tive” as the group – bankrolled by Wall Street mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires – be­gan a se­ries of town meet­ings on fed­eral bud­get deficits at St. Anselm’s Col­lege.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of sev­eral se­niors’ or­ga­ni­za­tions planned to join San­ders at a sep­a­rate forum later this af­ter­noon on the same col­lege cam­pus.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple should not be fooled by the mis­in­for­ma­tion that will be spread at these ‘grass­roots’ gath­er­ings backed by some of the most pow­er­ful Wall Street, in­sur­ance, and cor­po­rate CEOs in the coun­try,” San­ders said. “The goal of these ‘town meet­ings’ is to con­vince the peo­ple of New Hamp­shire and the rest of Amer­ica that the only ef­fec­tive way to ad­dress the deficit cri­sis is to

bal­ance the bud­get on the backs of the el­derly, the chil­dren, the sick and the poor. Don’t be­lieve it!”

A mem­ber of the Se­nate Bud­get Com­mit­tee, San­ders has said there is a deficit cri­sis be­cause a $236 bil­lion sur­plus when Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton left of­fice was squan­dered dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush. He blamed the deficits on un­funded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tax breaks for the wealthy and the re­ces­sion. He also has sug­gested spe­cific ways to cut spend­ing by re­duc­ing the bloated Pen­tagon bud­get and to raise rev­enue by elim­i­nat­ing tax breaks for the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans and clos­ing loop­holes for prof­itable cor­po­ra­tions.

But So­cial Se­cu­rity, San­ders stressed, has not con­trib­uted one nickel to the deficit or to the na­tional debt. In fact, the pro­gram that ben­e­fits more than 50 mil­lion re­tirees, wid­ows, or­phans and dis­abled Amer­i­cans has a $2.7 tril­lion sur­plus and, ac­cord­ing to ac­tu­ar­ies, will be able to pay ev­ery ben­e­fit owed to ev­ery el­i­gi­ble re­cip­i­ent for the next 21 years.

De­spite the tremen­dous suc­cess of So­cial Se­cu­rity, it has be­come a fa­vored tar­get of Peter G. Peter­son, the hedge fund bil­lion­aire who has pledged $1 bil­lion of his own money on a cam­paign to cut So­cial Se­cu­rity, Medi­care and Med­i­caid. It was Peter­son who pro­vided most of the fund­ing for the op­er­a­tion of the “Come­back Amer­ica Ini­tia­tive,” ac­cord­ing to its web­site. David Walker, who headed Peter­son’s foun­da­tion, now runs the ini­tia­tive.

Said San­ders: “In­stead of lis­ten­ing to mil­lion­aire and bil­lion­aire cam­paign con­trib­u­tors who want to re­duce the deficit by slash­ing So­cial Se­cu­rity, Medi­care, and Med­i­caid, it is time for our lead­ers in Wash­ing­ton to start lis­ten­ing to the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans who want the wealth­i­est peo­ple in this coun­try and the most prof­itable cor­po­ra­tions in this coun­try to con­trib­ute to deficit re­duc­tion. It is time for shared sac­ri­fice.”

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