San­ders Files Bill to Strengthen, Ex­pand So­cial Se­cu­rity

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

As boxes of pe­ti­tions signed by 2 mil­lion Amer­i­cans were hauled into the Capi­tol last week, Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.) in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to ex­pand benefits and strengthen the re­tire­ment pro­gram for gen­er­a­tions to come.

The So­cial Se­cu­rity Ex­pan­sion Act was filed on the same day San­ders and other se­na­tors re­ceived the pe­ti­tions gath­ered by the Na­tional Com­mit­tee to Pre­serve So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care.

“So­cial Se­cu­rity is the most suc­cess­ful govern­ment pro­gram in our na­tion’s his­tory. Through good times and bad, So­cial Se­cu­rity has paid out ev­ery ben­e­fit owed to ev­ery el­i­gi­ble Amer­i­can,” San­ders said. “The most ef­fec­tive way to strengthen So­cial Se­cu­rity for the fu­ture is to elim­i­nate the cap on the pay­roll tax on all in­come above $250,000 so mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires pay the same share as ev­ery­one else.”

San­ders’ mea­sure would make the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans pay their fair share. Un­der cur­rent law, the amount of in­come sub­ject to the pay­roll tax is capped at $118,500. That means some­one mak­ing mil­lions of dol­lars a year pays the same amount in pay­roll taxes as some mak­ing $118,500 a year. The leg­is­la­tion would sub­ject all in­come over $250,000 to the pay­roll tax. Do­ing so would im­pact only the top 1.5 per­cent of wage earn­ers, the Cen­ter for Eco­nomic Pol­icy Re­search has es­ti­mated.

The bill also would sub­ject un­earned household in­come above $250,000 to the same 6.2 per­cent tax as ap­plies to most earned in­come. The top 0.1 per­cent of Amer­i­cans gets about half of all cap­i­tal gains in­come.

Ask­ing the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans to con­trib­ute more into So­cial Se­cu­rity, would not only ex­tend the sol­vency of So­cial Se­cu­rity through 2060, it also would al­low So­cial Se­cu­rity benefits to be ex­panded for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans.

“At a time when over half of the Amer­i­can peo­ple have less than $10,000 in sav­ings and se­nior poverty is in­creas­ing, we should not be talk­ing about cut­ting So­cial Se­cu­rity benefits. We should be talk­ing about ex­pand­ing benefits to make sure that ev­ery Amer­i­can can re­tire with dig­nity,” the se­na­tor said. The bill would:

In­crease So­cial Se­cu­rity benefits by about $65 a month for most re­cip­i­ents.

In­crease cost-of-liv­ing Ad­just­ments for So­cial Se­cu­rity re­cip­i­ents.

Pro­vide a min­i­mum So­cial Se­cu­rity ben­e­fit to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the se­nior poverty rate.

So­cial Se­cu­rity to­day has a $2.8 tril­lion sur­plus and will be able to pay all promised benefits un­til 2033, af­ter which it will be able to pay around 75 per­cent of all promised benefits. The So­cial Se­cu­rity Ex­pan­sion Act would in­crease rev­enue and ex­tend the sol­vency of So­cial Se­cu­rity for the next 45 years.

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