Budget Blog

Feb 11 2015

Republican Attacks on Social Security go Back Many Years

Here are some facts and figures

Facts and Figures on SSDI

• 151,092,000 American workers were insured for SSDI in 2014, according to SSA estimates. (SSA, 2014)

• 9 million disabled workers and 1.8 million children of disabled workers received SSDI payments in 2014 (SSA, 2014)

• For December 2014, the average monthly benefit for a disabled worker was $1,165.39/mo. and $349.01/mo. for the child of a disabled worker. (SSA, 1/15)

• SSDI insurance payments are the main source of income for 80 percent of beneficiaries and the only source of income for a third (CAP, 7/8/14)

• Veterans made up 12% of the SSDI population, at over 1 million beneficiaries, in 2010. (SSA, 2/14)

• SSDI insurance payments constituted at least 75% of personal income for nearly half of the veterans receiving them (SSA, undated)

• “More than 1-in-4 20-year-olds insured for disability benefits become disabled before reaching retirement age.” (SSA, undated)

• “Fifty-six million Americans, or 1-in-5, live with disabilities. Thirty-eight million disabled Americans, or 1-in-10, live with severe disabilities.” (SSA, undated)

• A worker at age 50 is twice as likely to become disabled as they are at age 40, and twice as likely at age 60 than at 50 (CAP, 7/8/14)

• The death rates of beneficiaries are three to six times the average for their age group. (CBPP, 8/4/14)

Ranking Member Sanders talked with C-SPAN about his new legislation to rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure.  His 5-year-plan would invest $1 trillion in the effort and create or maintain at least 13 million decent-paying jobs.

A short summary of the bill can be found here and the text of the bill itself is here.

Jan 26 2015

Investing in infrastructure will support 13 million jobs

Sanders explains how his Infrastructure bill will rebuild America's crumbling economy


A Comprehensive Plan to Invest in our Infrastructure, Create Jobs and Strengthen the Economy

The Rebuild America Act will make a historic one-trillion dollar investment over five years to repair and modernize the physical infrastructure that our economy depends on. At a time when real unemployment stands at 11.2%, the Rebuild America Act will put thirteen million Americans to work in decent-paying jobs.

The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Competitiveness Report ranks our infrastructure as just 12th best in the world, as U.S. spending on infrastructure has slipped to 2.4 percent of GDP – less than at any point in the last twenty years. Meanwhile, Europe spends five percent on infrastructure and China spends nine percent.

The American Society of Civil Engineers – which has endorsed this bill – says we must spend an additional $1.6 trillion through 2020 above current spending just to get our infrastructure to a state of good repair. Our deteriorating infrastructure already costs the economy close to $200 billion a year, and if we don’t make these investments now, they will simply cost us more the longer we wait.


The Problem: One of every nine bridges in America is structurally deficient, nearly a quarter are functionally obsolete, and more than 30 percent have exceeded their design life. Almost one-third of our major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and 42 percent of urban highways are congested. Transit systems are struggling to address major repairs and improvements, even as ridership steadily increases. To get to a state of good repair by 2020, we would have to double our current spending on roads, bridges and transit.

The Solution: The Rebuild America Act will invest $735 billion to repair our roads, bridges and transit systems:

• Highway Trust Fund: A cornerstone of this bill, the Trust Fund will receive an additional $75 billion a year for eight years, so states can address the backlog of projects to fix our crumbling roads, bridges and transit.

• National Infrastructure Bank: Capitalized with $5 billion a year, the NIB will leverage enough private capital to finance $250 billion in transportation, energy, environmental and telecommunications projects.

• Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation: TIFIA will be expanded to provide credit assistance to almost $100 billion in surface transportation projects of national and regional significance.

• TIGER: $5 billion a year for this competitive program that funds transportation projects that create jobs in distressed areas, increase economic competitiveness, and promote livability, safety and innovation.


The Problem: Our nation’s rail system is largely obsolete, even though our energy-efficient railroads move more freight than ever, and Amtrak’s ridership has never been higher. While Amtrak’s fastest train, the Acela, travels at an average speed of just 65 mph, high-speed rail now crisscrosses most of Europe, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China with trains that exceed 150 mph, and sometimes 200 mph.

The Solution: The Rebuild America Act will invest $15 billion a year to improve intercity passenger and freight rail, including high-speed so America can begin to catch up with the rest of the world.


The Problem: Our airports are bursting at the seams. The FAA says there is an annual $2.2 billion funding gap to make the improvements needed to meet growing demand and to support the $1.3 trillion passenger and cargo aviation industry. Our airports still rely on antiquated 1960s radar technology, because Congress has underfunded the satellite-based NextGen air-traffic control system that will improve safety and efficiency.

The Solution: The Rebuild America Act will invest an additional $2.5 billion a year to implement much-needed improvement projects at airports across the country, and $3.5 billion a year to accelerate deployment of NextGen satellite technology, greatly improving air travel safety and increase airport capacity.


The Problem: Much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life: each year there are nearly a quarter-million water main breaks with a loss of an estimated seven billion gallons of fresh water. Because our wastewater treatment plants aren’t keeping up with needed improvements, almost ten billion gallons of raw sewage are dumped into our nation’s waterways each year. More than 4,000 of the nation’s 84,000 dams are now ‘deficient’ and nearly nine percent of all levees are likely to fail during a major flood.

The Solution: The Rebuild America Act will invest $145 billion in water infrastructure over five years:

• Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $6 billion a year to improve the water systems that provide Americans with clean, safe drinking water.

• Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $6 billion a year for water pollution control and wastewater and stormwater infrastructure that protect our nation’s rivers and lakes.

• Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act: $2 billion a year to finance large drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects currently not eligible for SRF funding.

• Dams and Levees: $12 billion a year to upgrade high-hazard dams that provide flood control, drinking water, irrigation, hydropower, and recreation, and for levees that protect our cities and farms.


The Problem: The marine seaports that handle 95% of all overseas trade are not keeping up with growing demand. Many of our inland waterways – which carry the equivalent of 50 million truck trips each year – are obsolete, causing 50+ service interruptions a day where barges are delayed and goods don’t get to their destination on time. There is a funding gap of $16 billion to bring these water ports into the 21st century.

The Solution: The Rebuild America Act will invest an additional $3 billion a year to improve inland waterways and coastal harbors and shipping channels to move goods to, from and within our country more efficient.


The Problem: For years, we have underfunded the parks that provide recreational opportunities for all Americans and that help preserve our nation’s history, heritage and natural wonders. Our federal, state and local parks systems now face a $100 billion funding gap for deferred maintenance and much needed upgrades.

The Solution: The Rebuild America Act will invest $3 billion a year to improve our National Parks, Monuments, Heritage Areas and Landmarks for current and future generations to enjoy.


The Problem: America’s aging electrical grid desperately needs modernizing to reduce the hundreds of avoidable major power failures and interruptions we have each year. Meanwhile, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ranks the U.S. 16th in the world for high-speed internet access, which is necessary for 21st century commerce, telemedicine, education and public safety.

The Solution: The Rebuild America Act will invest $10 billion a year for power transmission, distribution and modernization projects that will improve the reliability and resiliency of our ever more complex electric grid. It will also invest $5 billion a year to expand high-speed broadband networks into underserved and unserved areas, and to boost speeds and capacity in served areas.