Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow Wednesday night that Washington has ignored the middle class for a generation and now “we have a retirement crisis in America.”
Warren made a floor speech this week in favor of expanding social security while so many lawmakers are proposing cuts to the program.
“Wages for the middle class family have gone down, and yet core expenses – housing, healthcare, send a kid to college – have all shot through the roof,” Warren said. “Families cut back as best they could. They sent two people into the workforce, if they had a two person household. And yet families still couldn’t make it.”
“So they stopped saving,” she continued. “They went into debt, and now as they’re starting to hit their retirement years what we’re seeing are seniors who are really in a financial squeeze … and what they’re got is social security.”
Half the number of Americans have pension plans than 30 years ago.
“Now we’ve got an America where about two thirds of all seniors count on social security as their principal form of income and for 14 million Americans social security is all that stands between them and poverty," she said.
“We have a retirement crisis in America," she added. "This is no time, this is the last time, to be talking about cutting social security.”
Maddow said a quick fix to making social security secure over time would be raising the cap on how long the nation’s wealthiest individuals pay into the program.
“There are lot of fairly modest changes that you can make,” Warren agreed. “What’s interesting to me is why we haven’t focused on that. Why the conversation started with cutting benefits.”
She called the cuts “fundamentally wrong.” She said social security is only “partly about math.”
“But it’s partly about values. This is about what kind of people we are,” she said, “what kind of country we are trying to build. I believe fundamentally that we are a people who believe that anyone should be able to retire with dignity. And that’s what Social Security is about.”
The Boston Globe endorsed Warren’s “presidential campaign she said she isn’t running” this week calling her the “champion of Main Street versus Wall Street.”