Social Security plays a vital role in maintaining the economic health of our society; in particular, it ensures that seniors, disabled persons, widows and widowers stay out of poverty. Currently, one in five Americans, around 63 million people, receive Social Security benefits. In total, these benefits keep over 22 million Americans out of poverty. Without these benefits, the poverty rate of seniors would rise from 9% to 40%. Because of the great success of the Social Security program, Americans overwhelmingly support the maintenance and even expansion of Social Security.
However, this current administration is intent on decimating Social Security through budget cuts on programs for the poor and tax exemptions for the rich.
Trump’s proposed 2019 budget would have cut over $70 billion from Social Security. This budget proposal is particularly outrageous considering the highest earners contribute a small share of their annual income toward Social Security. Because of the payroll tax cap, any earnings above 132,000 as of 2019 are exempt from Social Security taxation.
With the rise of income inequality, a greater share of wealth goes untaxed every year. In 2019, an estimated $1.4 trillion was exempt from the Social Security tax. While much of the wealth of the top earners is untaxed, everyday Americans are taxed on their full income (an income that has not increased with productivity gains since the 1970s). A billionaire pays the same amount into Social Security as someone who earns $133,000 a year! Because of increased income inequality and tax exemptions for the rich, Social Security is woefully underfunded, and Americans are not being supported at the time when they need it most:
Protect and Expand Social Security:
Eliminate the payroll tax cap
Expand Social Security to increase benefits to all Americans, particularly to low-income seniors and people with disabilities