February 13, 2019

Social Security Expansion Act will Ensure Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share and Strengthen the Trust Funds

The following statement was issued by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, regarding the reintroduction of the Social Security Expansion Act by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter DeFazio:

“It is appropriate that Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR) chose to introduce the Social Security Expansion Act now.

“This is the week that millionaires are able to stop paying into Social Security for 2019 because of the current cap on earnings that are subject to Social Security withholding. Of course, the other 94% of us will continue to pay a portion of our salaries into Social Security all year.

“It is unfair and makes no sense that the wealthiest Americans contribute a lower percentage of their income to Social Security than everyone else. This bill will fix this by ‘scrapping the cap’ on all wages in excess of $250,000 and require that Social Security taxes be paid on unearned income, such as investment income. And current and future retirees would see their benefits increase.

“The legislation also requires that Social Security annual cost of living adjustments (COLAs) be calculated using the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E). The CPI-E more accurately reflects the rising cost of goods and services used by older Americans than the current formula.

“Social Security is an essential earned benefit for millions of American families. Nearly 63 million people receive monthly benefits: 46.8 million retirees, 5.9 million people who have lost a spouse or parent, and 10 million people with disabilities.

“While the average benefit for a retired worker is modest, $1,461 per month, it is essential. Fully 21% of married seniors and 44% of unmarried retirees rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income. If we require millionaires and billionaires to pay into Social Security at the same rate as everyone else, we can preserve and protect it well into the future.”

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Contact: David Blank – dblank@retiredamericans.org

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