Bernie tells Obama: Don’t touch Social Security

Remember when Obama used to sound like a Democrat when he talked about Social Security?

From what I’m hearing everywhere, progressive groups are working hard to convince the president not to come out in favor of Social Security cuts in the State of the Union address. Bernie Sanders adds his voice to those others:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, is pressing President Obama to keep his campaign promise not to cut Social Security benefits in a possible deal with Republicans.

Sanders has joined a lobbying campaign by more than 200 labor unions and liberal groups pressing Obama to make a strong statement against cutting Social Security benefits in his State of the Union address, scheduled for Jan. 25.

These groups fear that Obama may agree to cuts to Social Security in exchange for Republican support for raising the debt ceiling later this winter or as part of a broad agreement to reduce the deficit.

Obama campaigned against raising the retirement age and cutting Social Security benefits when he ran for president in 2008. In recent weeks, however, he has stayed largely silent on the proposal to cut benefits put forth by the fiscal-responsibility commission he appointed.

“I urge you to once again make clear to the American people that under your watch we will not cut Social Security benefits, raise the retirement age or privatize this critical program,” Sanders wrote in a letter to Obama. “Social Security is a promise that we cannot and must not break.”

Sanders, who caucuses with Senate Democrats, and other liberals are worried about whether they can trust Obama after he struck a deal with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) last year to pass an $858 billion tax package.

4 thoughts on “Bernie tells Obama: Don’t touch Social Security

  1. Actually, “the commission” didn’t issue a report, since it couldn’t come to any agreement in the stipulated time frame. So the “report” was just issued by the co-chairs. Kabuki, much?

  2. By his studied silence, Obama has made it “crystal clear” that he will not make any effort to protect Social Security. It has no part in his vision of government or the heritage of the Democratic Party.

    My evidence: if he believed in it, we would know it. This prolonged dance of hints, leaks and wishful inferences is just stringing us out and keeping us busy until the final betrayal, like:

    the “public option” [“I never campaigned on it.],
    the full monty of tax breaks [“Sometimes you have to compromise”],
    Elizabeth Warren [good enough to set up the department for consumer financial protection, but not to be put in charge of it]

    Forget it. He’s not on our side. He helps our enemies.

  3. When Obama caves on Social Security, he will get little or nothing in return except a chance to show everyone how bipartisan he is. Then the republicans will go back to their home districts and campaign on Obama taking away the old folks’ Social Security, and democrats will be left holding the bag.

  4. He may get “little in return” in terms of votes in the congress, but when Mr. Obama leaves the White House he will still be a very important man with a lot of very rich, influential and grateful friends.

    Old people and their Social Security will be the least of his thoughts.

    Does anybody remember when they were saying that the Clintons would leave office bankrupt from all those legal fees? Somehow that did not happen.

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