Social Security works for Americans. Republicans promise to cut it. Democrats have a plan to strengthen it.
Social Security is one of America’s most successful anti-poverty programs. Seniors are obvious beneficiaries, but children and people with disabilities are helped by Social Security as well. And since the program was enacted, Republicans have been opposed to those vital benefits.
In fact, Republicans have had the demise of Social Security and Medicare in their sights for over 80 years.
In 1935, Republican congressman John Taber said Social Security “is designed to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers, and to prevent any possibility of the employers providing work for the people.”
Fears that Social Security would make workers lazy and prevent employers from creating jobs have never materialized. Instead, Social Security draws millions of people out of poverty every year. In the absence of Social Security, about 40 percent of adults aged 65 and older would have incomes below the poverty line.
Democrats agree that a program as successful as this should be protected and expanded, not slashed. And they are backing that idea with a proposal called Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, which currently has 202 Democratic co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. The bill calls for:
- Increasing benefits by 2%
- Ending the five-month waiting period for disability benefits
- Enacting caregiver credits
- Adjusting the cost-of-living calculation to better keep up with inflation
- Setting the minimum benefit above the poverty line
- Paying for these changes by applying the payroll tax to people earning over $400,000 per year
Currently, wages are only taxed up to $147,000, meaning some wealthy Americans stop contributing to the Social Security trust fund by the end of January every year.
Approximately 97 percent of American seniors receive or will receive Social Security, and 96 percent of people aged 20-49 working in jobs covered by Social Security earn life insurance protection through the program. Social Security also provides critical disability benefits and helps lift over 1 million children out of poverty every year.
Social Security is worth saving, but it will face an uphill battle if Republicans who are focused on cutting benefits retake the House.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Top Ten Facts about Social Security
Bloomberg News: House GOP’s Scalise Defends Medicare, Social Security Plans
Updated on Oct 21, 2022
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