In a world where everyone seems to be talking about Social Security budget cuts and politicians seem all too willing to hack away at the Social Security program, it is nice to see someone with a different outlook – someone who actually wants to help Social Security rather than destroy it.
In a bold move, Senator Bernie Sanders went against the political grain and proposed a bill that would actually help Social Security and the people who receive Social Security Retirement and Social Security Disability benefits. No, there is no talk about cutting Medicare or increasing the retirement age in this bill. No theories about robbing Peter to pay Paul. In fact, when you look at it, Senator Sanders' bill may be one of the few bills that actually makes sense lately.
The question that many people have, however, is exactly how will Senator Bernie Sanders' proposed bill help Social Security and the people who rely on it and how will it affect taxpayers?
First and foremost, it is important to note right from the start that this is the only bill that aims to strengthen the Social Security program without making cuts to benefits. It is also important to note that recent talks of Social Security cuts have been coinciding with talks about national debt. What many people do not realize is that the Social Security program has nothing to do with the national debt. In fact, the program has a $2.7 trillion surplus. What's even more surprising to some is that there are laws in place to prevent the program from borrowing money. So why are Social Security benefits being put on the line when it comes to the issue of the deficit? The answer: politics and greed.
Senator Sanders has recognized this fact, and he has also recognized that while the Social Security Disability program has nothing to do with the national deficit, there are some issues that need to be addressed. His answer? Close the 75-year funding gap by applying Social Security payroll tax contributions to covered earnings of $250,000 or more. As things stand right now, only wages of up to $106,800 per year are currently taxed. If this bill is passed, individuals who make more than $106,800 and up to $250,000 will be taxed on all their earnings. If people who make less than $106,800 pay taxes on all their earnings, shouldn't the wealthier do so as well?
What will happen if this bill passes and the payroll tax contributions are increased? Social Security will be able to pay 100 percent of its promised benefits over the next 75 years. It will also ensure that each and every person out there pays his or her fair share into the Social Security program. Right now, the wealthier people of the nation pay a smaller Social Security tax ratio. By increasing the cap on payroll tax contributions, Sanders' bill levels the playing field a bit and ensures the stability of future Social Security benefits. If those with lower incomes can pay taxes on all of the income they receive, shouldn't the wealthier individuals do so as well? Especially if it means protecting the Social Security program and the people it was intended to help?