Opponents of President Obama’s ”chained CPI” proposal to reduce cost-of-living increases in Social Security protested in front of the White House this afternoon, bringing with them boxes of petitions bearing two million signatures urging the president to not include the proposal in the fiscal 2014 budget scheduled for release tomorrow.
“The president’s decision to include cuts to Social Security benefits in his budget is wrong policy and dumb politics“, said Roger Hickey, the co-director for the Campaign for America’s Future before the rally. “His chained CPI plan is wrong because it hurts Americans who have worked hard their entire lives and who need the support that Social Security gives them. It is wrong because Social Security is financed separately and does not contribute to the deficit.”
On a warm spring day, supporters and leaders from groups such as the AFL-CIO, Democracy for America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, National Organization of Women, MoveOn.org and the Campaign for America’s Future joined with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Reps. Mark Takano, D-Calif., and Rick Nolan, D-Minn., to express outrage over the cuts reported to be in the president’s budget.
The chained CPI proposal would change how the cost of living expenses are calculated year by year. It is suggested that it would save the government $217 billion over ten years by cutting benefits such as Social Security and other benefits and raising revenues. The chained CPI proposal would cut the most out of Social Security. A typical cut in Social Security would be $650 a year for 75-year-olds, $1,100 a year for 85-year-olds, and more than $1,600 a year for recipients aged 95 and older.
“I would like to say thank you to the organizations representing tens of millions of workers, seniors, and disabled vets who are saying loudly and clearly, ‘We are not going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, disabled vets, the sick, the women or the children,’” said Sanders. “When one out of four major profitable corporations pays nothing in federal income tax, we know how we can deal with deficit reduction in a way that is fair.”
“We have cut as much as we can, for millions of Americans, there is nothing left to cut. President Obama, it is morally wrong to take from our parents, our grandparents and our veterans,” said Stephanie Taylor of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
“Real Democrats do not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Period,” said Jim Dean, of Democracy for America. “For the Democrats who have not made up their minds yet, you are either with us, or you are against us,” continued Dean.
“Do you remember when Vice President Biden debated Congressman Ryan? There was one point in the debate that caught my attention where Vice President Biden responded to Paul Ryan with ‘That’s malarkey’. That’s what we say to this proposal, it’s malarkey!” said Max Richtman of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
“Mr. President and Members of Congress: keep the promises you made when you asked for our votes. Stop talking about cutting Social Security benefits,” said Hickey. “Stop talking about economic austerity. And get to work investing in jobs, growth, and rising incomes for working America.”