Sanders: Devastation awaits working families in the “Gang of 6” deficit reduction plan

What I can say is that I have heard, including from people that you might not expect to hear it from, that if they bring from the Senate a piece of crap which really comes down heavy on working families, and the elderly, and the sick, and the children, and they expect me to matter of factly vote for it, they have another think coming. So I think the White House is for a serious surpise if they think everybody in the Democratic caucus is going to willy nilly follow the President and vote for anything he brings forth.

—Senator Bernie Sanders,
July 8, 2011

On Thursday, July 21, Senator Bernie Sanders spoke on the floor of the Senate on the dangers of the Gang of 6 plan to reduce the deficit—a plan supported by President Obama. The “Gang of 6,” is made up of three conservative Democrats and three Repiublicans. As a bit of déjà vu, this is the same strategy—empowering a conservative Senate panel—that President Obama used in crafting  health reform legislation—the one without a public option, and with generous giveaways to the health and pharmaceutical industries.

Bernie Sanders is calling for Americans to get involved and fight back against what, he is warning, will not be small cuts, or “tweaks” in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The Gang of 6 Plan includes suggestions of revenue increases, two of which are cutting out the mortgage deduction which will directly impact low and middle income families and taxing health care plans that are part of job benefits.

Sanders vowed to fight against this plane that includes cuts in Pell Grants for college education, and cuts in environmental protections. He notes that details of the plan are not fleshed out, so it is unknown just how deep the cuts to social programs will be. Senator Sanders reminds that Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit as it is funded through payroll taxes.

Photo credit: Jack Com, U.S. National Archives