Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘When People Tell You Social Security Is Going Broke,’ Tell Them They’re Lying

By Ali Meyer | March 12, 2015 | 2:20pm EDT

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt)(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

( - “When people tell you Social Security is going broke, you look them in the eye and tell them they’re not telling you the truth,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)  at an event on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to petition Congress not to cut Social Security or Medicare.

“Today, the Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.8 trillion surplus,” Sanders said. “So when people tell you Social Security is going broke, you look them in the eye and tell them they're not telling you the truth.”

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare along with Sens. Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) held an event to deliver a letter and petition with two million signatures that have been collected from those who reject attempts to target Social Security and Medicare for cuts.

As previously reported, however, the Social Security program ran a $47.8 billion deficit in fiscal 2012 as the program brought in $725.429 billion in cash and paid $773.247 for benefits and overhead expenses, according to official datapublished by Social Security Administration.

“Social Security can pay out every benefit to every eligible American for the next 18 years,” said Sanders. “But listen to this - if income inequality had stayed at the same level as it was in 1983, Social Security would have $1.1 trillion dollars more than it does today, and it would not just be solvent for the next 18 years, but for the next 38 years. In other words, it’s not just that income inequality is wrong onto itself, it has significantly hurt the lifetime of Social Security.

“Before the creation of Social Security, about half of our nation’s seniors lived in poverty,” he said. “In other words, Social Security has had a profound impact on lower income benefits for seniors. Yet despite this enormous success, the Republicans in the House made a rules change that will make it easy for them to make huge cuts to this enormously important and successful program.

“We’ve got to send a very clear and loud message. That’s what your petitions have done,” Sanders said. “To the Republican leadership in the Senate and the House: stop manufacturing a crisis that does not exist in the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.

“Stop trying to pit senior citizens on fixed incomes against the disabled. Stop rigging the rules for making it easier to cut Social Security - benefits for the most vulnerable people in this country, while providing even more tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires and the most profitable corporations in this country,” he added.

“Does anybody in America support that?” the senator asked. “Not really, but they get away with that, because many Americans don’t know what's going on. The skyrocketing increase in wealth and income inequality over the past three decades has not only hurt millions of Americans, it caused the middle class to shrink, but it is also hurting Social Security.

“One thing I do know damn well is that you don't cut those benefits. You expand those benefits,” said Sanders.

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