Protecting Social Security

Protecting Social Security

My 10th South Dakota Promise: I will be a sentinel to protect Social Security against attacks from the Republican Congress.
Republicans promised us the tax breaks for the wealthy would pay for themselves.
As I and anyone else familiar with arithmetic said then, that was wrong — and untruthful. That tax cut sent the nation’s budget deficit soaring.
So when Republicans like Dusty call the increased national debt “very disturbing,” it’s like an arsonist wring his hands over the ashes of a fire he started.
So when I hear Republicans claim Social Security is a driver of the debt and needs to be cut, they’re not close to the truth. Social Security isn’t part of the budget. It is part of the Social Security trust fund which will only be able to satisfy 70-80 percent of current obligations beginning around 2015 if we don’t make changes.
The sad truth is that the tax cuts were step 1 for this Republican Congress. Step 2 is to say that the soaring debt means we need to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for all Americans. Don’t rely on me for this: It’s from their own mouths.
And it’s an immoral approach. Congress needs to keep its hands off our Social Security.
We need to preserve the promise government made to working Americans when they took money out of their paychecks every month.
I support modest and manageable measures to fortify the Social Security system’s finances and expand benefits, including legislative proposals that would keep Social Security solvent for decades. These measures will boost revenue by increasing the amount wealthiest Americans contribute in Social Security payroll taxes (currently capped at $128,700 in annual income), while modestly boosting benefits and adjusting the formula for cost-of-living adjustments to more accurately reflect retirees’ true expenses.
One in five South Dakotans receives Social Security benefits, with the vast majority of them being senior citizens.
They worked for this benefit and have earned that sense of well-being and, yes, security. AARP estimates it keeps 40 percent of our senior citizens out of poverty.
The last thing these folks need is a cut. There are other ways to fix this.
Why should someone earning $1 million pay a far lower rate toward Social Security than the person making $50,000? It’s unwise and unfair when Social Security can be stabilized for the future by taxing them fairly.
Dusty said he wants to balance the budget by cutting Social Security benefits for those who will retire in 25 years.
First, Social Security isn’t part of the budget; it’s in a separate trust fund outside the budget. Congress already raided Social Security.
They should keep their hands off it.
But even if it were in the budget, it’s easy for people who don’t know what it’s like to do hard physical labor to say others should work longer.
Dusty won’t join me in a proposal to end congressional pensions, but he’s glad to cut off ordinary workers who’ve already paid in for 25 years or more in many cases.
Here’s the reality: half of all Americans right now take benefits by 63. Half.
Dusty’s life expectancy data is just wrong. That has gone up mostly because of reduced infant mortality. Life expectancy from age 67 is the key: it’s only a few years longer now than 60 years ago.
Let’s get tax fairness first. Right now, people who earn $1 million pay maybe 2 percent of earnings while those who are self employed making $80,000 pay 15.6 percent. That’s wrong.