Bernie Sanders: We’re going to expand Social Security, not cut it by Bernie Sanders
Social Security is one of the most popular and successful government programs in the history of our country.
For more than 80 years, through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American on time and without delay. Not once over more than eight decades of operation — not even during our worst economic downturns — has anyone received a letter or phone call from the Social Security Administration saying: “Sorry, we’re going to have to cut your benefits.” At a time of massive economic instability, this is a record that should make every American very proud.
While many people take Social Security for granted, it’s important to recognize that without Social Security the senior poverty rate in Vermont would be over 42 percent. But, because Social Security has lifted 30,000 seniors in our state out of poverty, it’s just 5.9 percent.
And let’s be clear. Social Security is not just a retirement program which provides benefits to nearly 100,000 seniors in Vermont. It is an insurance program that offers financial assistance to more than 22,000 Vermonters with disabilities and over 9,600 children.
Yet, despite all of this success, seniors in Vermont and all over America still struggle to make ends meet and many older workers are frightened that they will never be able to retire with any sense of dignity.
According to the most recent data, one out of every five senior citizens in America is trying to live on an income of less than $13,500 a year. Think about that for a moment. How does one survive economically if you only have $13,500 a year to buy the medicine you need, heat your home, pay the rent, put food on the table and pay for other basic necessities?
Adding insult to injury, about half of older Americans – those who are 55 and older – have no retirement savings, while the average Social Security benefit is less than $1,300 a month.
Given this painful reality our job is not to cut Social Security, as many of my Republican colleagues in Congress want to do. Our job is to expand Social Security so that everyone in America can retire with the respect that they have earned and deserve after a lifetime of hard work.
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