A new report released this week determined that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ legislation to strengthen Social Security would extend the life of the program by an additional 40 years, from 2034 to 2074. Instead of allowing the wealthy to continue manipulating tax laws, Sanders intends to remove the tax cap for the rich while fighting to keep Social Security alive.
“Millions of Americans have worked hard to earn their Social Security benefits and depend on those benefits to keep them out of poverty when they can no longer work,” Sanders wrote in a statement on Thursday. “Today’s projections show that we can significantly expand Social Security benefits while also extending the life of the program to 2074. All that is required is the political will to tell the wealthiest Americans to pay the same rate as everyone else.”
Last year, Sanders introduced the Social Security Expansion Act to extend the solvency of the program and ensure that the wealthy begin paying their fair share. Under current law, the amount of income subject to the payroll tax is capped at $118,500. That means millionaires and billionaires pay the same amount in payroll taxes as people making $118,500 a year. Sanders’ bill would subject all income over $250,000 to the payroll tax. According to the Center for Economic Policy, only the top 1.5 percent of wage earners would be impacted.
On Thursday, the Social Security’s Office of the Chief Actuary found that Sanders’ legislation would extend the solvency of the program from the current estimate of 2034 to 2074. The increase in Social Security benefits would provide an additional $1,300 a year to seniors with less than $16,000 in income. Sanders’ bill would also increase the annual cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients while fighting to significantly reduce the senior poverty rate.
On Friday, Sanders welcomed Hillary Clinton’s verbal support for expanding Social Security but questioned her resolve. In a press release, Sanders asked, “Is she prepared to scrap the cap on payroll taxes? Is she prepared to support legislation that I have offered that would both expand Social Security benefits and extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 58 years as a result of lifting the cap on taxable income on people who earn more than $250,000 a year? I hope so but we’re still not sure.”
Although Clinton currently claims that she supports the expansion of Social Security, she falsely stated back in April 2008 that Obama’s plan to remove the cap would increase taxes on the middle class. She stated, “I’m certainly against one of Senator Obama’s ideas, which is to lift the cap on the payroll tax, because that would impose additional taxes on people who are educators, police officers, firefighters and the like.”
But according to FactCheck.org, most people in those professions earn less than $100,000 per year and would not be affected by the cap.
On Saturday, Sanders took to Twitter and wrote, “Enough is enough! This great nation belongs to the people and not to a handful of billionaires, their super PACs and their lobbyists.”