Friday, February 17, 2017

A valiant gesture

Bernie Sanders Unveils Social Security Expansion Bill On The Day Millionaires Stop Paying

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday to expand Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on earnings subject to payroll taxes.

The progressive lawmakers presented their proposal on the day that Americans with wages of $1 million or more stop paying into Social Security for the year.

Workers now contribute to Social Security based on the first $127,200 they earn every year. 

The new legislation would apply the 6.2-percent payroll tax to ordinary earnings of $250,000 or more, as well as to unearned income, like capital gains and dividends, above that threshold.

Rather than increase benefits for those high-earning workers based on their additional contributions, the bill would use the revenue to extend Social Security’s solvency until 2078, and to boost benefits across the board with a disproportionate impact on low earners.

“We can expand benefits, we can extend the life of Social Security, if we have the guts to tell the millionaires and billionaires, yes, they are going to have to pay a bit more in taxes,” Sanders said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Sanders was joined by DeFazio; Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.); Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Paul Tonko (N.Y.); and representatives of progressive organizations like Social Security Works, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the Alliance for Retired Americans.

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There is virtually no chance of the legislation advancing in the Republican-controlled Congress. 

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