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Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is not known for biting his tongue about his feelings. And the disastrous debt ceiling debate is no different. Sanders released a statement on Wednesday with biting sarcasm about the so-called “Gang of Six” and their compromise.
Sanders congratulated the GOP members of the Gang of Six on their “very significant victory in negotiating a deficit-reduction plan which achieves their long-term goal of dismantling every major social program relevant to working families.”
The Gang of Six is the moniker given to six Republican senators that are working with Democrats to create a compromise in order to raise the debt ceiling. Among the cuts, the gang of six will cut social security and Medicare.
“While I am sure that they did not get everything that they wanted, I think it’s fair to say they won about 80 percent to 90 percent of what they fought for,” Sanders said. “Despite President Obama’s campaign promise not to cut Social Security benefits, the Gang of Six plan, which he apparently embraced, calls for massive cuts in that vitally important program.”
According to Sanders, the negotiations involve a new formula for calculating cost-of-living adjustments for social security recipients. The new plan would cut a typical 75-year-old’s yearly benefits in 10 years by $560. The proposal also cuts Medicare by $298 billion over 10 years and makes massive cuts to Medicaid.
“At a time when the wealthiest people in this country are becoming wealthier and are paying the lowest effective tax rates in modern history, when corporations are making billions of dollars and making nothing in taxes at all,” Sanders said in his statement, “at least half of a deficit reduction package should come from ending tax breaks and tax loopholes for the wealthy and large corporations. With military spending having nearly tripled since 1997, we must take a hard look at cutting unnecessary and outdated military programs.”
In his statement, Sanders warned specifically of the danger higher taxes on the middle class could pose, saying, “there is reason to expect that some of the areas that the House and Senate will be looking at include the home mortgage deduction for middle-class families, taxes on health care benefits, and increased taxes on retirement programs such as 401(k)s and IRAs.”
Appearing Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show,” Sanders reiterated his criticism of the plan’s revenue raising provisions saying, “in terms of revenue, it is very very vague as to where this revenue is going to come from.
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