A new bill was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (IVermont). would increase Social Security payments annually by “scrapping the cap” on the amount that the wealthiest Americans pay into the program.
The bill would increase Social Security payments by $2,400 a year and would fully fund the program until 2096, or the next 75 years — far past the current estimated insolvency date ofAround 2033 thanks to Republican refusalTo raise taxes in order to fund the program.
The bill would remove the income cap on Social Security taxes to ensure that high-income individuals contribute the same amount to the program as the rest. income capFor Social Security payments, the amount is $147,000. This means that people who earn $1 million a year are eligible. paying into Social Security by the end of February.
Therefore, those with a lower income than $147,000 are not eligible for the tax. are payingThe program takes 12.4 percent of their annual income. However, the wealthy pay a much smaller share of their income in Social Security taxes. This income cap, Sanders said, is “absur[d]” and “grossly unfai[r].”
Sanders introduced the Social Security Expansion Act with Elizabeth Warren (D.Massachusetts), a co-chair of Expand Social Security Caucus, and seven other Democratic senators. In the House, Peter DeFazio (D.Oregon) also introduced the bill. The bill has the support of 50 organizations including major labor unions like AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Labor.
In a Budget Committee hearing on the program on Thursday, Sanders said that Social Security is something that Americans often take for granted — which makes fully funding the program to ensure that younger generations can enjoy its benefits in several decades all the more critical. Sanders also noted that the current program payments were too low for seniors to afford to live on. Many seniors are therefore putting off or giving away retirement to make ends meet.
Despite the “important success” of the program that has drastically reduced the number of seniors living in poverty in the U.S., Sanders said, “tens of millions of senior citizens are still struggling today to make ends meet and many older workers are scared to death — literally frightened to death — that they will never be able to retire with any shred of dignity.”
The senator cited data that showed 12 percent of seniors struggle to live on incomes below $10,000 per year while 55 percent live on incomes less than $25,000 per year. At the same time, half of Americans 55 and older have no retirement savings, meaning that many rely largely on Social Security payments in order to survive — payments of, on average, about $1,500 a month.
“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 said. “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.”
Sanders stressed that the bill was also about equalizing the playing field. “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, at a time when billionaires pay an effective tax rate lower than the average working person, at a time when the very richest people in this country are becoming much richer,” he said, “this legislation demands that the wealthiest people in this country start paying their fair share of taxes.”