A group of senators led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently introduced a new bill to protect the solvency of Social Security. The bill would not only keep the program funded for seventy-five years but would increase benefits by $2,400 a year.
It remains to be seen whether the proposal has much chance to advance, as it has not been endorsed by the White House; nor has it gained the endorsement of any Republicans in either house of Congress. The sponsors are all Democrats except for Sanders, who is officially an independent but caucuses with the Senate Democrats.
Now, Sanders has made the case for his bill in an unlikely venue: the Fox News website.
Referencing a debate he recently did with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Fox News, Sanders argued that his plan is necessary to shore up the federal program.
“Sen. Graham was very honest about his approach to Social Security and the direction in which Republicans should go. His view is that we should raise the retirement age and adopt a plan similar to what Alan Simpson (a former Republican senator from Wyoming) and Erskine Bowles (a former Democratic Wall Street investment banker) proposed nearly a decade ago,” Sanders wrote.
Sanders’ proposal would apply the Social Security payroll tax to all income, getting rid of the present cap of $147,000 a year. He went on to call it “cruel” to cut Social Security benefits.
“Needless to say, I have a much different perspective than Sen. Graham and my Republican colleagues. At a time when half of older Americans have no retirement savings and are worried about their ability to retire with dignity and millions of seniors are living in poverty, I believe that our job is not to cut Social Security. Our job must be to expand Social Security so that every senior citizen in America can retire with the respect they deserve and every person with a disability can live with the security they need.”
On top of the column and the recently broadcast debate with Senator Graham, Sanders has never been shy about appearing on Fox News, even when his political opponents have refused to do so. During his 2020 campaign for president, Sanders appeared for multiple town halls on the network, including one in April of 2019 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
In fact, Sanders has a surprisingly prolific author page on the Fox News site, with seven columns dating back to 2019, making the case for everything from Medicare for All to a Senate vote on last year’s failed Build Back Better framework, and in support of both the American Rescue Plan Act and last year’s Kellogg’s strike.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.