Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has proven himself a surprisingly fierce presidential candidate and he didn’t hesitate to slam rival Jeb Bush for his remarks on retirement and Social Security.
Bush, the former governor of Florida, has not announced his candidacy yet but he’s making his rounds on the media circuit hawking his conservative views. In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” he suggested that the U.S. increase the retirement age to cut costs. “We need to look over the horizon and begin to phase in, over an extended period of time, going from 65 to 68 or 70,” he said, although the current retirement age is actually 66 and is set to rise. People born in 1959 won’t be able to retire until they’re 67.
Sanders, who is seeking a presidential nomination from the Democrats, said in a statement that the move would be bad for Americans. “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,” he said.
“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,” he added. Sanders has advocated to expand Social Security benefits in the past and slammed Bush for being out of touch.
“I have a hard time understanding what world Gov. Bush and his billionaire backers live in,” Sanders said.
Right to Rise PAC spokesman Matt Gorman said Sanders has the wrong idea. "Gov. Bush has made clear that he wants to protect Social Security for those who have earned it. And yet, reform it so it's still around for younger generations," he said.