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Bernie Sanders on Social Security

Socialist Jr Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)


Despite GOP rhetoric, Social Security is NOT going bankrupt

Using Social Security taxes for private accounts
AARPOpposes
Richard TarrantNo response
Bernard SandersOpposes
Q Will you support or oppose using Social Security taxes to fund private accounts?

A: As Vermont’s Congressman I have vigorously opposed President Bush’s efforts to privatize Social Security. Social Security is the most successful anti-poverty program in history. We must strengthen it, not destroy it. Despite the President’s rhetoric, Social Security is NOT going bankrupt. By repealing Bush’s tax cuts for the very rich, and making some minor changes to the funding of the Social Security program, Social Security will be able to pay out every penny owed to every eligible beneficiary for the indefinite future. I oppose privatization plans that would drain money from Social Security and I oppose raising the retirement age or cuts to promised benefits.

Source: AARP Senate candidate questionnaire , Sep 29, 2006

Voted NO on establishing reserve funds & pre-funding for Social Security.

Voting YES would:
  1. require that the Federal Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries;
  2. ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951
  3. provide participants with the benefits of savings and investment while permitting the pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits; and
  4. ensure that the funds made available to finance such legislation do not exceed the amounts estimated to be actuarially available.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Perhaps the worst example of wasteful spending is when we take the taxes people pay for Social Security and, instead of saving them, we spend them on other things. Even worse than spending Social Security on other things is we do not count it as debt when we talk about the deficit every year. So using the Social Security money is actually a way to hide even more wasteful spending without counting it as debt. This Amendment would change that.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

This amendment has a fatal flaw. It leaves the door open for private Social Security accounts by providing participants with the option of "pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits."

Make no mistake about it, this is a stalking-horse for Social Security. It looks good on the surface, but this is an amendment to privatize Social Security.
Reference: Bill S.Amdt.489 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-089 on Mar 22, 2007

Voted NO on raising 401(k) limits & making pension plans more portable.

Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would raise the amount individuals may contribute to traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts and to 401[k] plans and make pensions plans more portable
Reference: Bill sponsored by Portman, R-OH; Bill HR 10 ; vote number 2001-96 on May 2, 2001

Voted NO on reducing tax payments on Social Security benefits.

Vote to pass a bill that would reduce the percentage of Social Security benefits that is taxable from 85 to 50 percent for single taxpayers with incomes over $25,000 and married couples with incomes over $32,000. The revenues that would be lost for the Medicare trust fund would be replaced by money from the general fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX; Bill HR 4865 ; vote number 2000-450 on Jul 27, 2000

Voted YES on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox.

Amending the Social Security Lockbox bill to require that any budget surplus cannot be spent until the solvency of Social Security and Medicare is guaranteed.
Reference: Motion to Recommit introduced by Rangel, D-NY; Bill HR 1259 ; vote number 1999-163 on May 26, 1999

Changing Social Security disproportionately affects women.

Sanders co-sponsored changing Social Security disproportionately affect women

RESOLUTION: Recognizing the unique effects that proposals to reform Social Security may have on women.

Source: H.RES.128 01-H128 on May 1, 2001

Reject proposals for private saving accounts.

Sanders co-sponsored rejecting proposals for private saving accounts

To reject proposals to partially or completely substitute private saving accounts for the lifelong, guaranteed, inflation-protected insurance benefits provided through Social Security. The Congress finds the following:

  1. President Bush promised to partially privatize Social Security, and appointed a commission to develop a plan on his behalf.
  2. The commission developed three alternative plans that would partially privatize Social Security.
  3. The plans divert substantial monies from the Social Security Trust Funds to pay for the private accounts, which threatens benefits for current beneficiaries by significantly weakening the financial condition of the Trust Funds.
  4. The plans' cuts in disability and survivor benefits directly contradict the President's promise that disability and survivor benefits would be preserved under privatization.
  5. Furthermore, these reductions in guaranteed benefits apply to all workers, regardless of whether they chose to have an individual account or not.
  6. Substituting private accounts for guaranteed Social Security benefits increases financial risk for retirees, disabled workers and their families.
  7. Moreover, other proposals to privatize Social Security, such as the 'Social Security Guarantee Plus' plan or the 'Social Security Ownership and Guarantee' plan, establish private accounts that directly or indirectly reduce Social Security benefits.
Source: H.R.4780 02-H4780 on May 21, 2002

Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.

Sanders scores 100% by the ARA on senior issues

The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.

The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: ARA website 03n-ARA on Dec 31, 2003

Reject privatization; don't raise the retirement age.

Sanders signed the Social Security Protectors Pledge

Some 200 Democratic House and Senate candidates have signed on to a pledge rejecting any effort to privatize or scale back Social Security benefits or raise the retirement age. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee sponsored this pledge among Congressional candidates.

Source: PCCC Survey 10-PCCC on Aug 11, 2010

Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".

Sanders co-sponsored Resolution on CPI

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION expressing the sense of the Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) should not be used to adjust Social Security benefits.