That was Bernie’s response this week to Gov. Jeb Bush, Republican Presidential contender.
“I have a hard time understanding what world Gov. Bush and his billionaire backers live in,” Bernie said after Jeb Bush told an interviewer that he thought the Social Security retirement age should be raised.
“We need to look over the horizon and begin to phase in (an increase in the retirement age over an extended period of time),” said Bush, “going from 65 to 68 or 70.” With those words, Bush seemed to suggest that the current retirement age is 65. It is currently 66, and is scheduled to rise to 67 for people born in 1959 and afterwards.
“It is unacceptable to ask construction workers, truck drivers, nurses and other working-class Americans to work until they are 68 to 70 years old before qualifying for full Social Security benefits,” Bernie said in response this week, adding:
“At a time when more than half of the American people have less than $10,000 in savings, it would be a disaster to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age.”
Bernie was referring to a GAO study, conducted at his request, which also found that “about half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings” and that “many older households without retirement savings have few other resources … to draw on in retirement.”
The GAO study found that “Social Security provides most of the income for about half of households age 65 and older.”
“Jeb Bush’s plan to raise the retirement age is just a continuation of the war that is being waged by the Republicans against working-class Americans in order to reward billionaires on Wall Street,” Bernie said, noting:
“When the average Social Security benefit is just $1,328 a month, and more than one-third of our senior citizens rely on Social Security for virtually all of their income, our job must be to expand benefits, not cut them.”
“I have introduced legislation to do just that,” he concluded.