After the White House took Social Security off the fiscal cliff negotiating table, Sen. Bernie Sanders applauded the move and called it a step in the right direction.
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Social Security was not on the fiscal cliff negotiating table, “We should address the drivers of the deficit and Social Security currently is not a driver of the deficit.”
In a statement Sen. Sanders said applauded the White House’s decision,
This is a step in the right direction for more than 55 million Americans who have earned Social Security benefits today and every working American who will receive Social Security benefits in the future. The simple truth is that Social Security has not contributed a nickel to the national debt so it makes no sense for it to be part of deficit negotiations.
The American people have been clear that Social Security is enormously important to their well being and that it should not be cut. The election and poll after poll show clearly that the American people want the wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country, who are doing phenomenally well, to play a significant role in reducing the deficit.
One of the great red herrings that Republicans have successfully injected into the public discourse is that Social Security must be part of entitlement reform. In their lustful desire to privatize the program, the right has lumped Social Security in with the looming Medicare crisis. As Sen. Sanders and now the White House have both pointed out, Social Security isn’t adding to the deficit. In fact, Social Security will remain solvent until 2033. (This number fluctuates from year to year. A boost in economic performance will push the date back a few more years. Generally, the solvency range is 2029-2040.) Even if nothing is done, Social Security could still pay 75% of its benefits after 2033.
In short, there is no Social Security crisis. Social Security is not going broke, and it does not add a penny to the deficit.
The right wing’s manufactured Social Security was created to scare the public into supporting a privatization scheme.
After Harry Reid promised that any deal that cut the beloved program would not pass the Senate, Social Security was for all practical terms, taken off the table.
Republicans planted the seeds for their own demise when they created the fiscal cliff. They never expected Obama to be reelected, and Democrats to gain seats in the House and Senate. The outcome of the 2012 election has left President Obama in a position to dictate the framework of any potential deal. This means that Social Security is off the table, and Republicans will be forced to either swallow a bitter compromise or push America off the fiscal cliff.
Once Obama was reelected, Social Security was probably not going to be on the table, but the advocacy of Bernie Sanders made sure that it never was.