Editorial: If last week is any indication, Sanders will seek presidency
In a recent press release, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, shows why he is likely to run for president in 2016. This Tuesday, he blasted a proposal by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to cut Social Security and disabled veterans’ benefits. The savings would go to the Pentagon for increased spending.
Ryan, who is one of the Republicans’ leading conservatives, said he wants to boost the Pentagon budget by taking what he called “savings” in Social Security and other programs pegged to annual adjustments in the consumer price index.
It’s a discredited proposal, Sanders says, that relies on the so-called chained consumer price index whose formula would purposely lowball the rate of inflation and consequently result in significant cuts for Social Security recipients and disabled veterans. Sanders says the Ryan plan would cut Social Security benefits by more than $120 billion over 10 years.
You can see him at political rallies all over the country making hay on the subject with his trademark outrage and fist pounding on the pulpit.
“This discredited, sleight of hand by Rep. Paul Ryan and other members of the Republican Party is an outrage,” he’d bellow in his increasingly familiar Brooklyn accent. “It would mean the average Social Security recipient who retires at age 65 would get $658 less a year at age 75 and would receive over $1,100 less a year at age 85 than under current law. And what would the Republicans do with that money? Give it to the Pentagon so we can bomb more targets and make terrorists around the world hate us even more.”
“And that’s not all,” he’d continue, fist punching the sky. “The chained CPI would cut substantial benefits to more than 3 million disabled veterans. Three million! The largest cuts would impact young, permanently disabled veterans who were seriously wounded in combat in our most recent wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Can you imagine? We’d be cutting benefits to those veterans who sacrificed so much for their country, and this is how we treat them once they’re home and struggling to deal their injuries?
“Rep. Ryan and other Republicans may think that’s OK, but I sure don’t, do you?”
The crowd roars and emphatic “No,” and Sanders moves on to the growing disparity between the super rich and everyone else, the need to close the loophole that allows some of the nation’s biggest companies to locate headquarters overseas so they don’t have to pay U.S. taxes, the need to cut our carbon footprint, and on and on.
It’s a political landscape that is playing right into Bernie’s type of campaign. Only this time, the public is faced with an increasingly out of touch Republican Party that has a real chance to take control over the nation — the perfect scenario to give Bernie’s populist message a solid foothold and urgency.
Even if the pundits say he’s unlikely to win, it’s a sure bet his message would be heard far and wide and would alter the political debate substantially.
Angelo S. Lynn
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