Poll Finds 83 Percent of Americans Want to Expand Social Security

Social Security, one of the nation’s oldest welfare programs, is set to start running out of money in about a decade — and Americans want Congress to take action, new polling finds.

In a poll of about 1,300 likely voters, Data for Progress found that a bipartisan majority of Americans — 84 percent — are “very” or “somewhat” concerned that Social Security won’t be able toFuture generations should receive all benefits. Eighty-three percent of voters, also on a bipartisan basis, support raising Social Security benefits in order to match current cost of living standards, and to ensure that everyone who has paid into the program will be able to access its full benefits when they’re of retirement age.

Popular are plans to tax the rich to expand Social Security. When asked about lawmakers’ bills that would raise taxes for Americans making more than $400,000 a year in order to pay for expansions of the program, 76 percent of respondents, including 83 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents and Republicans, said they “strongly” or “somewhat” support the proposal.

One such bill is The Social Security Expansion Act, which was introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (D–Massachusetts). Last month. The bill would increase Social Security payments up to $2,400 per year and fully fund the program for the next 75-years, until 2096.

It would also make the tax system more equitable by eliminating the cap on Social Security payments to people earning more than $250,000. Currently, the income cap for Social Security taxes is $147,000, meaning that people making more than that stop paying into the program by the time they’ve made that amount of income in the year; for instance, people making a salaryA maximum of $1 million is required to stop paying into the program each February.

Participation is appreciated to Republicans’ refusal to raise taxesThe program is set to be insolvent by2033. This means that it will have only to pay 75 percent of the benefits currently in place. Though GOP lawmakers likely wouldn’t say it out loud, due to the program’s popularity, right-wingers have been workingBehind closed doors in think tanksSocial Security has been cut for many years with the goal to privatize it.

However, this is a controversial idea. Data for Progress revealed that 68 per cent of likely voters, including 75 per cent of Democrats and 70percent of Republicans, oppose privatizing this program. Economists also agree that privatizing Social Security would be harmful and lead to yet more poverty — and that what’s truly needed to ensure that the seniors and disabled people who are most in need have the funds they need to survive is a large expansion of the program.

Nevertheless, 55 per cent of voters were presented with the statement that Democrats are trying expand the program while the GOP is trying end it. 22 percent of self identified Republicans agreed.

Social Security is not providing enough funding to seniors as it stands, as Sanders highlighted in a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee in June. Over half of seniors are living on incomes of less than $25,000 a year, while many of those same seniors don’t have any retirement savings.

“Our job, in my view, is not to cut Social Security, is not to raise the retirement age, as many of my Republican colleagues would have us do,” Sanders stated at the time. “Our job is to expand Social Security so that everyone in America can retire with the dignity that he or she deserves and that every person in this country with a disability can retire with the security they need.”