Yesterday on President Franklin Roosevelt’s birthday the Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John Larson introduced the Social Security 2100 Act with more than 200 Democratic sponsors but no Republicans so far.
Because of Republican opposition the minimum benefit established in 1972 has not been improved since then. Republicans tried to scare people that Social Security was going bankrupt, and President George W. Bush even tried to privatize the highly successful retirement program by which the government has each generation pay for the retirement of previous generations. Thank goodness that failed because his irresponsible policies of decreasing taxes for the rich while spending more on foolish wars caused the economic crash in 2008.
As American wealth has been increasing, there is no difficulty in increasing benefits as Democrats propose. Polls show that two-thirds of voters favor expanding Social Security benefits.
The FICA tax paid by employees and employers would be increased gradually from 6.2% to 7.4% by 2043. The new minimum benefit would be set at 25% above the poverty line, and average benefits would increase about 2% and according to changes in the cost of living. The cap on annual income subject to this tax is currently $132,900, and the new law would apply the tax also to annual incomes over $400,000.
I support this bill but would also favor removing the cap altogether rather than exempting income between $132,900 and $400,000. I believe that those with such rich incomes should be paying society back some of the benefits they are gaining since they can most afford to do so.