Sanders Warns Against Changing Social Security Formula

12/10/12 5:50PM By Melody Bodette

AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at an event in Washington alongside Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Senator Bernie Sanders warns that he'll oppose one change to Social Security that's under discussion as part of the fiscal cliff talks.

Sanders says some want to shift the way the annual cost of living is adjusted for people who receive Social Security benefits.

Currently, the adjustment is based on a formula that takes the consumer price index into account.

Sanders says a proposed change would mean less generous adjustments.

"The argument there is -- and whenever I tell this to seniors they literally break out in laughter -- is that the current formula is too generous, when in fact it is too skimpy," Sanders said. "It is to my mind unfair to seniors right now because it doesn't take into account the full cost of prescription drugs and health care."

Sanders says inflation on health care costs is already hurting seniors.

He says the proposed change would mean that seniors who are 65 today would get 560 dollars less in benefits by the time they're 75.

Sanders says disabled veterans would also be affected.

"As a member of the veterans committee I will do everything I can to make sure we don't do deficit reduction on the backs of disabled veterans," he said. "And I got to tell you that the same people pushing for that are trying to maintain Bush's tax breaks for billionaires and millionaires. What a great philosophy!"

Sanders also said that he believes that cuts to Social Security benefits are off the table.

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