Senator Rubio is presenting a fanciful revision of history.
As ThinkProgress points out:
Indeed, prior to Medicare’s enactment in 1965, “about one-half of America’s seniors did not have hospital insurance,” “more than one in four elderly were estimated to go without medical care due to cost concerns,” and one in three seniors were living in poverty. Today, nearly all seniors have access to affordable health care and only about 14 percent of seniors are below the poverty line.
Contrast that with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, speaking at the United Steel Workers 2011 Conference, last week, in Las Vegas:
Senator Sanders announces he's filing new legislation to protect Social Security. From ThinkProgress:
Sanders’ legislation would eliminate the income cap that currently exists in the payroll tax that does not tax income above $106,800:
The Social Security system is currently fully funded until 2037. Lifting the payroll tax cap would virtually eliminate funding shortfalls the program would experience over the next 75 years.
These two Senators provide an interesting contrast. Rubio would have us believe that elderly people living in dire poverty was somehow the key to national prosperity. Senator Sanders is Social Security's best friend. He wants to ensure that the promise is kept, and that Social Security is there for future generations.
We all have Social Security stories. My grandmother worked 2 jobs throughout her adult life, supporting her son and her mother. Social Security and a modest pension allowed her to live out her retirement years without fear. Social Security disability benefits were there to help my husband, when cancer forced him to retire, nine months before he died.
As Bernie Sanders points out - it's been working for everyone for 75 years, and with the changes he proposes, will work just fine for the next 75 years.
Cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org