Ocasio-Cortez Backs Social Security Expansion, Says the Wealthy Need to Chip In

On Tuesday, Democrats reintroduced Social Security legislation. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a cosponsor (D-New York), shared her personal experience with it, emphasizing the need for wealthy people to contribute more.

Social Security 2100 introduced by Social Security Subcommittee Chair Rep. John Larson(D-Connecticut), expand social security benefitsThe depletion date will be extended by three years to 2038. After that, benefits will have to be reduced by 20 percent. It would give current beneficiaries a slight bump and increase the minimum benefits to 125 percent of poverty line.

Taxes on the wealthy would pay for new increases, applying payroll taxes to wages over $400,000. According to the lawmakers, this would impact the richest 0.4 percent of earners.

Ocasio-Cortez is one of nearly 200 cosponsors. emphasized the importance of the program and shared its impact on her own life at the bill’s unveiling. “It’s so important for us to know that Social Security is there for all of us: when we lose a parent, a spouse, or, god forbid, having an unexpected diagnosis or an accident,” she said, stressing that the program can benefit people of all ages, not just seniors.

“When I was a kid, my dad passed away due to an unexpected cancer diagnosis,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “I was the daughter of a domestic worker, and social security checks helped my family through. It’s why my brother and I were able to go to college; it’s why I felt confident while I was at college that my mom would be able to have something to eat.”

“To have that social safety net isn’t just good for us individually for peace of mind, it helps us feel like we are part of a society that respects our elders and values our vulnerable,” the lawmaker said.

Social Security is vital to preventing povertySocial Security keeps more people out poverty than any other program in America. According to the Census Bureau, Social Security is keeping a steady stream of people out of poverty. 26.5 million2020 will see people move out of poverty Still, policy experts sayThe program is available here established in 1935There is a dire need for improvement and investments in this area, as budget cuts have caused delays. insufficient payoutsand general service issues that have gotten worse over the past decade.

In 2020, the maximum federal Social Security benefit was $783 a month, or only about $9,400 a year — less than three-quarters of the federal poverty line, which is already extremely lowBy modern standards.

The bill is “common-sense legislation that expands and strengthens Social Security and includes particularly important provisions for unmarried caregivers, poorly compensated workers, and older people in their 80s and 90s,” Shawn Fremstad, senior policy fellow for the Center for Economic & Policy Research, told Truthout. The bill provides caregiver credits so that retired caregivers aren’t punished for exiting the workforce to take care of dependents.

Democrats plan to pay for the expansion by applying payroll taxes to incomes above $400,000, which Fremstad says “would be sufficient to fund the expansions in the bill and strengthen Social Security for the long term.”

Currently, wages above $142,800 aren’t subject to payroll taxes, which fund the program. Policy experts sayThis is an egregious oversightThe bill is more burdensome for those who earn less than the richest Americans because they have to pay more into Social Security than do the rich. Millionaires can stop contributing to the program as soon as February each year because contributions are capped. The middle- and lower classes must contribute every paycheck.

“Every year, when I did my taxes, I saw how much I contributed to Social Security as a waitress — thousands of dollars a year. What we want to do is make Social Security better, to expand it, to cover people like my mom, who left her job to care for my dad while he was ill,” said Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday. “And we want to do that by asking the wealthy to pay into Social Security the same way that I did when I was a waitress. It’s pretty simple.”