Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and much of the left, are praising President Obama’s budget today because he has dropped his proposal to cut Social Security via Chained CPI.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders said:
President Obama’s budget provides major investments on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, expanding community health centers and improving the lives and educational opportunities of our children. It includes smart investments in pre-school education and job training. It calls for expanded tax credits for 13.5 million low-income workers. At a time when the wealthiest Americans are doing phenomenally well, it asks some of the richest people in the country to start paying their fair share of taxes. At a time when the country is still struggling to recover from a terrible recession, the president’s initiatives would benefit Vermonters and all Americans by improving the economy and creating of millions of decent-paying jobs.
As the founder of the Defending Social Security Caucus, I am especially proud that the president did not renew his proposal to cut Social Security benefits. With the middle class struggling and more people living in poverty than ever before, we cannot afford to make life even more difficult for seniors and some of the most vulnerable people in America.
As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to build on the many positive proposals in the president’s budget and address those areas where the president’s proposals fall short.
It is safe to say that Chained CPI is likely off the table for the remainder of the Obama presidency. President Obama only offered to cut Social Security, in an attempt to get Republicans to negotiate a “grand bargain” on the budget.
Since Republicans hate President Obama more than they despise Social Security, it didn’t work.
After the tried to sell his fellow Democrats on Chained CPI as part of a budget deal, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) joined with Sanders in promising that any deal containing Chained CPI would never pass the Senate. This proclamation from Reid killed Chained CPI. Outside of a deal with Republicans, there was never any incentive for the president to push for Social Security cuts.
Chained CPI is terrible policy. It is anything but a small tweak to Social Security. For example, disabled veterans would see their benefits cut by $1,300-$2,260 a year by the time they reach age 65. Republicans are trying to create more revenue by reducing the level of benefits for disabled veterans. If implemented, the chained CPI would push Americans who already in or teetering towards poverty deeper into economic distress.
There is a bit of confusion making the rounds today about whether or not President Obama’s budget cuts Social Security. The 2015 Obama budget contains no cuts to Social Security. There is no Chained CPI in this budget. If there was, you can bet that Sen. Sanders would not be praising the president’s budget.
Obama seems to have gotten Chained CPI out of his system, and has returned to the traditional Democratic role of guarding Social Security.
This is development that every Democrat and liberal should be happy about.