President Obama has endorsed a plan to cut Social Security benefits through a so-called “chained CPI.” Today, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) spoke out against a plan like Obama’s that would offer only a tiny increase in taxes for the wealthy in exchange for cuts to Social Security benefits:
SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today because I just don’t get this discussion about the fiscal cliff. Republicans are saying that in order to raise taxes on the very wealthiest Americans and actually buy historically small — by historically small amount, that the price that has to be paid is to ask the poorest adult Americans to pay more. That is to reduce social security and medicare benefits. I don’t get the equivalency that is being asked for. The richest to pay a bit more and the price to be that the poor, the poorest have to pay more. Seniors in this country have a median income of just $22,000 a year. That means half of all seniors are below that. They also spend an average right now of $4,500 a year on health care costs out of their own pockets. And so I think that we have to change the debate here and there’s a parable in the Bible that makes this point. when you ask a person with one coat to give up that coat, it’s not the same as asking someone with 10 coats to donate one to the cause. I yield back.