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Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken added their very strong and very progressive voices to the fight to stop the chained CPI, and any cuts to Social Security, in a summit this week organized by Social Security Works. Along with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Jack Reed and Reps. Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, Peter DeFazio and David Cicilline, they vowed to protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans’ benefits. The whole event is worth watching, which you can do here, but these two progressive stalwarts really just stand out.

Here's Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken on why the chained CPI is a bad idea for this country.


Thank you, thank you. You know, I love being here with you. I love being here with you because we are here to fight for what we believe in. This is not a fight about money, this is a fight about values. This is a fight about who we are as a people, and what kind of country we are going to build. That’s what this is about. Cutting Social Security with the chained CPI makes no sense at all. It is a way of saying “cut benefits for seniors, for veterans, for orphans, for the permanently disabled.” We are better than that. That is not where we make cuts in this country. [...]

We don’t ask our seniors to take cuts while we let corporations line up for special handouts. We don’t do that. That is not a reflection of our values. Social Security is a program that people paid for themselves. This isn’t a hand out. This isn’t a gift from tax payers. This is a system that workers pay into, and now workers count on it. We should not balance the budget on the backs of veterans, seniors, the disabled, surviving family members- not when we can close corporate tax loopholes, end unnecessary subsidies, and find other ways to find other ways to bring our budget into balance. Social Security is not creating our budget problems. Social Security works and we have to remember that, and support it. For more than 75 years Social Security has been a critical part of what we do.

Thank you, Bernie for your leadership on this. This is personal to me. My wife Franny was 17 months old when her father, a decorated World War II veteran, died in a car accident leaving my mother-in-law widowed at age 29 with 5 kids. They made it because of Social Security survivors’ benefits. That’s how they made it. So, you think I’ve got Bernie hocking me? Watch me watch TV with my wife. Bernie just yells. Franny knows how to get to me. This is wrong. [...]

Last time Bernie talked about the solvency of Social Security—first of all, this has nothing to do with the debt. It’s a self-sustaining program, so let’s separate it and let’s make sure that it’s there for—because Social Security has survived the Great Depression, wars, it will survive. We just need to do what’s right when we correct it. In 1983, 90 percent of income in this country was subject to FICA. Now because of the shift of income to the very top, only 83 percent of income is subject to FICA. The way to go here is to change it so that, again, about 90 percent of our income is subject to FICA. That is the way to go, not taking away. [...]

Thanks, senators. That's the message Democrats should be sending about Social Security.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri May 10, 2013 at 03:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by Pushing back at the Grand Bargain, In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Massachusetts Kosmopolitans, Social Security Defenders, and Daily Kos.

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