Greece's social security has suffered severe damage after six years of cruel neoliberalism imposed by the Troika (ECB, IMF, European Commission). France is in flames because the "Socialists" want to implement the Greek "model", and the whole Europe walks in the path of neoliberal destruction that seriously threatens one of its most fundamental conquers: welfare state.
Yet, in the metropolis of neoliberalism, Bernie Sanders miraculously drives the Democrats away from the recipe of destruction. From The Intercept :
President Barack Obama endorsed an expansion of Social Security for the first time on Wednesday. “We can’t afford to weaken Social Security,” he said during a speech on economic policy in Elkhart, Indiana. “We should be strengthening Social Security. And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned.” The increased benefits, he said, could be paid for “by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more. They can afford it. I can afford it.”
By the summer of 2014, a small group of Democratic caucus senators, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, started advocating for lifting Social Security’s payroll tax cap so wealthier people paid more into the system, and then increasing benefits to seniors. Polling by advocacy groups found broad support for expansion. This idea became a central theme in Sanders’s presidential campaign. In the speech announcing his candidacy, the senator said that “instead of cutting Social Security, we’re going to expand Social Security benefits.”
In both 2008 and 2012, Obama explicitly campaigned on protecting the Social Security program and rejecting plans that would cut benefits. But shortly after re-election in 2012, the Obama Administration proposed re-calculating the way Social Security’s cost of living adjustments work. [...] Obama’s backtracking set off a furious reaction from seniors groups and progressive activists, who for the next few months mobilized their members to pressure Congress to reject the proposed change. By April 2013, 2.3 million Americans had signed petitions calling on the president to back off of chained CPI. The signatures were presented at a White House rally that featured Sanders, who vowed to “do everything in my power to block President Obama’s proposal to cut benefits for Social Security recipients through a chained consumer price index.” The senator mobilized a wide coalition or organizations, including veterans, women’s rights groups, and labor unions to oppose chained CPI.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s evolution on the issue could also be traced to Sanders. Clinton initially shied away from the question of expanding the program, issuing only noncommittal statements on the issue. But after being directly challenged on the Social Security program this past February by the Sanders campaign, Clinton tweeted, “As always, I’ll defend it, & I’ll expand it.”
It is obvious that the miracle behind Bernie has a name: American people. As already mentioned in previous article :
Bernie has the background and the ability to change the course of the US politics. He speaks straightly about things buried by the establishment, as if they were absent. Wall Street corruption, growing inequality, corporate funding of politicians by lobbies. He says that he will break the big banks. He will provide free health and education for all the American people. Because of Sanders, Hillary is forced to speak about these issues too. And subsequently, this starts to shape again a fundamental ideological difference between Democrats and Republicans, which was nearly absent for decades.
But none of this would have come to surface if Bernie didn't have the support of the American people. Despite that he came from nowhere, especially the young people mobilized and started to spread his message using the alternative media. Despite that he speaks about Socialism, his popularity grows. The establishment starts to sense the first cracks in its solid structure. But Bernie is only the appropriate tool. It's the American people who make the difference.
There is no doubt of course that Hillary will abandon immediately any pro-people policies once (if) she get elected, and follow faithfully the neocon/neoliberal agenda. Obama has an additional reason to turn 180 degrees to appear that he fully supports a stronger social security. Now that his term is ending, he simply wants to leave a good name behind.
Yet, the American people through Bernie, managed to achieve a significant victory. It forced Democrats to change rhetoric and start shaping (at least theoretically) a different ideological framework, away from the monopoly of the destructive neoliberal doctrine. This shows that, even if Bernie lose the chance to be the next US president, the real change has already started, and it's up to the American people to continue the struggle until the final victory against the establishment of plutocracy.