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Comment: Why is it time to expand Social Security benefits – and here’s how to pay


It’s been a good time to expand Social Security. When President Franklin Roosevelt signed into the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935, he described his landmark act as “the foundation in a structure that is under construction but not completed”.

On the basis of the old age pension, policy makers continued to increase subsidies and added new protections, such as those with a permanent disability that prevented them from self-supporting. support yourself through work. However, no extensions have been issued for nearly half a century.

Getting in the way is a false statement that the United States, the richest country in the world at the richest time in history, cannot equip our Social Security system. We all hear variations of this myth – that Social Security is unaffordable, that it will be broken, that it places a great future burden on our grandchildren, that it must be cut down or changed entirely. We hear those claims over and over again, when we talk to family and friends, listen to CNN and Fox News or read about the future of Social Security.

These popular statements don’t just happen spontaneously. Instead, a billionaire-sponsored campaign has worked hard since its last expansion to convince the media, politicians, other elites, and everyday Americans that Social Security Today’s assembly must be cut.

Even if the Census Bureau estimates that the number of people aged 65 and over will increase from about 56 million now to 73 million by 2030 and 95 million by 2060, practically Social Security, as a percentage of the country’s gross domestic product, won’t cost you more at the end of the 21stst century compared to today’s prices. And notably, the percentage that the United States will spend on Social Security at the turn of this century is significantly less than most industrialized countries spend on comparable programs.

The expansion is not only affordable, it is essential. Social Security benefits are modest, with monthly benefits averaging just $ 1,548 for retired workers – that’s $ 18,576 a year – and $ 1,279 for adults with disabilities, or $ 15,348 a year.

Even before COVID-19, the country was preparing for a retirement income crisis, with estimates revealing that half of the workforce today will not be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement; about two-thirds when personal health care and long-term care costs are charged.

Women are especially vulnerable to poverty as they age. Their promotion opportunities are less and wages are lower – about 82 cents per dollar – than men. They often step out of the workforce to care for young children and family members with disabilities or serious illnesses. Pandemic and consequently economic shocks only exacerbate these problems.


Expanding or cutting Social Security is a question of values, not economics, demographics, or math.

We propose the All Generations Plan to increase benefits by approximately 50%, add paid vacation time, paid sick leave, care credit, and more. And it pays for every penny, ensuring that all current and new benefits can be paid off in the next three quarters of a century and beyond.

The plan requires everyone (and their employers) to make a slightly larger contribution to Social Security, phased for more than 30 years, and requires the richest, who have been Benefit a lot, pay significantly more. The plan, for example, to reinstate federal property taxes, eliminate the favorable tax treatment enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry and levy speculative taxes on the stock market, with the proceeds set aside. for Social Security.

It also removes the limit of income that is subject to Social Security contributions, which, over time, over 10 years, so CEOs pay the same salary as those working with minimum wages.

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Expanding or cutting Social Security is a question of values, not economics, demographics, or math.

Social Security Extensions are about the kind of country we want to live in and leave behind for those who follow. Fortunately, opinion polls show that, no matter how polar we are on many issues, we are not polarizing on Social Security. Most Republicans, Democrats and Independence members don’t want to see Social Security cut back. We want it to be expanded.

The people we elect – the people who work for us, after all – should obey the will of the American people and extend Social Security.

Nancy J. Altman, an attorney, is the president of the Social security works. Eric Kingson is a professor at Syracuse University’s School of Social Work and chair of the council for Social Security Works. They are the author of “Social Security Activity for Everyone! Protection and coverage that Americans love and trust. ”

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