More than 2 million Americans signed a petition presented at the White House Tuesday by progressive groups opposing the president’s rumored cuts to Social Security.
The groups protesting in Washington, D.C., included MoveOn.org, the National Organization for Women, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
“We are here today because there is a serious disconnect between the American people and many of the elites of Washington,” said Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, one of the groups in favor of the petition. “There is a serious disconnect between President Obama and the American people on the issue of the Chained CPI.”
Last week, information leaked that President Obama’s 2014 proposed budget—set to be revealed on Capitol Hill Wednesday—will include phased-in cuts to benefits. The proposal, known as Chained CPI, would reduce the rate at which Social Security benefits increase, effectively cutting the program in the long term.
A Chained CPI would slow the growth of entitlement by assuming when prices rise for a product, people buy cheaper goods. Estimates show that under the proposal, the cost-of-living adjustment would be about .3 percentage points below what it would be under regular CPI. Ultimately, Americans wouldn’t see as big an increase in their Social Security checks.
Out of voters ages 50 and over, 91% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans are opposed to the Chained CPI as part of a deficit deal, according to a new poll released Tuesday by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Nearly every individual in the nation—especially veterans, people with disabilities, women, and children who have lost their parents—will be affected if the Chained CPI becomes law, Altman said.
Almost 10 million veterans receive Social Security benefits. With the proposal, 65-year-old veterans would lose more than $3,000 in benefits. Seniors would see their benefits cut by more than $1,000 each year by age 85.
During his 2008 presidential run, Obama promised he wouldn’t make cuts to Social Security.
“We want the president to remember what he said and not go back on his word,” Vermont’s Independent Senator, Bernie Sanders, said at the White House.
“The moral test today that we have is Social Security. We have to keep that promise not just to seniors, but to veterans and to our children and to people with disabilities. The measure to take away our ability to do that by Chained CPI is an affront to that moral promise this country has,” said Mark Pocan, a Democratic congressman from Wisconsin. “The economic woes of this country are not caused by Social Security as some people are trying to rewrite history. But just the opposite.”