It’s Time for the Wealthy to Pay Their Fair Share Into Social Security

When Congress put a cap on Social Safety contributions in 1983, they didn’t anticipate 40 years of rising inequality.

Is your wage lower than $160,200? If that’s the case, you’re among the many 94 percent of American staff who pay into Social Safety all 12 months lengthy. However there’s a privileged group that’s about to cease paying into Social Safety for the remainder of 2023: Individuals who make $1,000,000 a 12 months. Their final day of contributing to Social Safety is February 28.

That’s not even the worst of it. Tucker Carlson, who makes a reported $8 million a 12 months, stopped contributing to Social Safety on January 8. Joe Rogan, who reportedly makes $4 million a month, stopped contributing on January 2. Many billionaires obtain all of their cash within the type of bonuses and inventory choices. Elon Musk is the highest paid CEO on the earth, however as a result of none of it’s wage earnings, he doesn’t pay a single penny into Social Safety.

Proper-wing politicians and cable information pundits steadily say that we “can’t afford” Social Safety. Their answer? Minimize advantages for working individuals who’ve paid into this system for our complete lives. They by no means recommend that we merely require the wealthiest individuals in America to pay into Social Safety all 12 months lengthy, similar to the remainder of us. If we do, we are able to afford to not simply shield however increase advantages.

The Social Security Expansion Act, not too long ago launched by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) together with its Home counterpart, launched by Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Val Hoyle (D-OR), would do exactly that. This laws would require the rich to contribute into Social Safety on all their earnings over $250,000 — together with unearned funding earnings. It makes use of the extra income to extend Social Safety’s modest advantages and preserve this system sturdy by the tip of the century and past.

One other piece of laws, Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, is sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-CT). This invoice, which additionally lifts the cap on Social Safety contributions and makes use of the income to increase advantages, had the help of about 90 % of Home Democrats within the final Congress.

The motion to lastly require the rich to pay into Social Safety all 12 months lengthy isn’t restricted to Congress. President Joe Biden campaigned on lifting the cap and utilizing the income for focused profit expansions. Polling shows that the concept has widespread help among the many public, together with 76 % of all voters and 65 % of Republican voters.

Sadly, Republican politicians will not be listening to their voters. The Republican Examine Committee, a gaggle that counts 156 Home Republicans as members, launched a funds final 12 months that may make massive cuts to Social Safety advantages, together with elevating the total retirement age to 70. It doesn’t raise the cap or in any other case elevate a dime of further income from the rich.

Republican politicians are targeted on defending their rich donors, who’re paying much less into Social Safety than ever. The Financial Coverage Institute (EPI) not too long ago found that as inequality will increase, a report share of all earnings are above the $160,200 cap on Social Safety contributions.

In 1983, the final time Congress made main reforms to Social Safety, they set the cap at a degree that coated 90 % of all wage earnings, leaving solely 10 % above the cap. However they didn’t depend on the rising inequality of the final forty years. The % of wage earnings exterior the cap has almost doubled — in 2021, almost 20 % of wage earnings was exterior the cap. And that doesn’t even embody unearned funding earnings, which accounts for the massive bulk of the earnings of the wealthiest!

EPI estimates that earnings falling above the cap as a result of rising inequality has value the Social Safety Belief Fund $1.4 trillion. That’s an enormous windfall for the rich — and an enormous loss for our Social Safety system and the thousands and thousands of People who depend on it.

Congress has the ability to finish this injustice. All it might take is Republican politicians listening to their voters, becoming a member of with Democrats to require the rich to pay into Social Safety all 12 months lengthy and on all of their earnings. In the event that they do, millionaires gained’t precisely be celebrating subsequent February 28 — however the remainder of us will.

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