US Social Security: Dems’ wealth tax proposal and the GOP alternative

Dems say
The Republican plan as the Democrats on the House Budget Committee put it in this graphic. The conventional political wisdom is that with divided government any bold departure from what now prevails on taxation or on Social Security is unlikely to be swallowed whole. Parts may get negotiated into existence, but against strong resistance. The proposal in question here? Democrats would have to win big in next year’s elections and this plan is what many of them would be running on. “This bill shows that Social Security is fully affordable—as long as the wealthiest among us pay their fair share,” said one advocate.

Dems’ wealth tax bill would extend Social Security solvency by 75+ years: analysis

by Brett Wilkins — Common Dreams

Legislation recently introduced by a pair of Democratic US lawmakers to save Social Security for generations to come would extend the vital social program’s lifespan by at least 75 years, according to a federal analysis published Tuesday.

The Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act—introduced in April by Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), with a companion bill put forth Tuesday by Representative Brendan Boyle (D-PA) in the House—”would extend Social Security solvency indefinitely by making the nation’s highest earners contribute their fair share,” Boyle’s office said in a statement Tuesday.

The bill would require taxpayers making more than $400,000 annually to contribute more to Medicare, while closing legal loopholes and also ensuring “that wealthy owners of pass-through businesses like hedge funds and private equity firms with more than $400,000 in annual income cannot avoid Medicare taxes.”

The Democrats say that, if passed, their bill would also “extend Medicare solvency by an estimated 20 years.”

According to an analysis by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary, if enacted, the legislation’s provisions would be sufficient to “pay scheduled benefits in full and on time throughout the 75-year projection period.”

“This legislation saves Social Security and Medicare for generations to come,” Boyle said in a statement. “Social Security and Medicare represent a commitment made by this country decades ago to honor the dignity and independence of senior citizens and disabled citizens. Rather than tearing these programs down, as some in Congress want to do, we should be strengthening and securing them.”

Whitehouse, who is set to hold a Wednesday hearing examining ways to protect Social Security, said that “the megarich—taking advantage of our rigged tax code—have avoided paying Social Security taxes on most of their income, threatening the promise of Social Security for future generations.”

“But as the new analysis from the Social Security Administration shows, we can protect this bedrock program for all and improve our broken tax code—a win-win in my book,” Whitehouse continued.

“Republicans recently joined Democrats in promising not to cut Social Security, which leaves raising revenue as the only option to protect the program,” the senator added. “I invite my Republican colleagues to join me in shoring up this vital lifeline by leveling the playing field so that teachers, nurses, and firefighters aren’t paying more of their income in taxes than billionaires.”

In May, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced the launch of a fiscal commission tasked with finding ways to reduce the national debt. This, after the speaker struck a deal with President Joe Biden to suspend the nation’s borrowing limit until 2025.

McCarthy said he was “going to make some people uncomfortable” by looking at cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

“Republicans are openly admitting they want to steal your Social Security and Medicare and then force you to work until you drop dead,” Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a bill introduced earlier this year by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Val Hoyle (D-OR) would increase Social Security benefits by at least $200 per month and prolong the program’s solvency for decades by lifting the cap on the maximum income subject to Social Security payroll tax.


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