The Week in Review

“What the president is proposing is going to hurt a lot of people,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday after the White House confirmed that President Obama’s budget will include cuts in Social Security. He called it a “bitter disappointment” that the budget will propose changing how annual cost-of-living adjustments are calculated in a way designed to lower benefits. As the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Sanders added that the proposal also would cut benefits for disabled veterans and their survivors. Glaciers in the Andes that took 1,600 years or more to form have melted in just 25 years, scientists reported Thursday.

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A Bitter Disappointment Obama's proposed budget will call for reductions in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs. As a candidate for the White House in 2008, Sanders noted, Obama pledged not to cut Social Security COLAs. “This is not a minor tweak, as its proponents contend,” the senator added. “Under Obama’s proposal, according to the Social Security Administration, 65-year-old retirees would lose more than $650 a year by their 75th birthday, and more than $1,000 a year would be cut from their benefits once they reach 85. The proposed change would also affect more than 3.2 million disabled veterans receiving disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who started receiving VA disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits reduced by $1,425 a year at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at age 65. Benefits for more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children would also be cut.” Watch Obama in 2008

An Early Warning “In the fight over the federal budget deficit, Social Security has so far been untouched. That may soon change,” The New York Times warned in a Sunday editorial that foreshadowed the White House push to cut benefits. “You are right to sound the alarm bells about President Obama’s effort to cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans through a chained consumer price index,” Sanders said in a letter to the editor published on Tuesday. “Yes, we must move forward on deficit reduction, but it must not be done on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country." Sanders also urged the president to get behind legislation to raise the cap on income subject to the payroll tax, extending the life of Social Security for generations to come without the need to cut benefits or raise taxes on the middle class.  It was, after all, an Obama proposal made during the 2008 campaign that Sanders used as the basis for the new bill to strengthen Social Security.

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Global Warming Rapidly melting glaciers in the mountains of Peru are the latest indication of the impact of rising global temperatures. “What the scientists tell us is that the projections they made about the damage for global warming were wrong. They understated the problem. What they’re now saying is that if we don’t get our act together and start cutting greenhouse gas emissions in a very significant way we’re talking about this planet heating up by eight degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. And that is calamitous for this planet. We have got to do something about it,” Sanders said Monday on the premier of “All In With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC. Sanders and Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate environment committee, have introduced legislation to tax carbon and methane gas emissions to reduce the use of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

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Read a summary of the Sanders, Boxer bill