Texarkana Gazette

Saving Social Security

Biden has a plan, but will it get through Congress?

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President Joe Biden has shot out of the starting gate, issuing executive orders on a variety of issues. But his big goal — and biggest challenge — is coming a bit down the road.

President Biden wants to reform Social Security, ensuring the program’s solvency and boosting payments to current and future recipients.

His campaign plan — always subject to change when dealing with Congress — includes guaranteei­ng a minimum monthly payment of at least 125% of the federal poverty level, increases for longterm recipients and widows and widowers and a change in the way the annual cost of living adjustment is figured to put more money in recipients pockets.

To pay for all that he’s called for collecting Social Security payroll taxes on higher wages. Right now Americans only pay on the first $142,000 they earn. The president’s plan would additional­ly tax incomes above $400,000. The gap between the two would narrow over time.

Although the Democrats have control of Congress for now, they will still have to sway some Republican lawmakers to the cause. That might not be as difficult as it sounds.

Social Security, though decried as “socialism” when it was signed into law in 1935, has become probably the single most popular government program. Millions rely on their monthly payments for their entire income. For millions more it’s a welcome supplement to whatever they’ve managed to put away.

Social Security has long been considered the “third rail” of politics — touch it and your career dies. But we suspect many seniors and other recipients would welcome reform that shores up the system and gives them a bit more each month. There are almost certainly Republican­s who would be leery of disappoint­ing them.

Whatever form final reform takes, it’s desperatel­y needed. Social Security is headed for fiscal disaster. If President Biden can solve this one it would cement his legacy.

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