I lost my father in 2014. I had the great joy of him living with my family until a stroke forced him into a nursing facility. I know how much he relied upon Social Security, Medicare, and other government programs through the last years of his life. These are lifelines for him and many others in their golden years.
At the end of 2017, the Republicans in Congress passed a disastrous tax bill that devastated insurance markets and is causing our national debt to skyrocket. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects our annual federal budget deficit will reach $1,000,000,000,000.00 by 2020 thanks to the McConnell-Ryan tax plan.
To solve this problem, Republicans in Congress are now suggesting that they can “Fix” the financial problem they themselves created by cutting Social Security benefits.
I’m committed to keeping the promises made to and paid for by our seniors. I believe in protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare and honoring the benefits that seniors earned during a lifetime of hard work. I will fight to make sure that everyone in this country can retire with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Social Security and Medicare provide a critical lifeline for Hoosiers. 1,191,768 Hoosiers receive monthly Social Security checks, including 186,817 workers with disabilities and 100,871 children and 971,923 Hoosiers get their health care coverage from Medicare. Without these programs, millions of America’s elderly would live in poverty. By one estimate, Social Security alone lifts more than 14 million older Americans out of poverty.
I do not believe that Social Security is a “ponzi scheme,” as some have called it, and I do not support proposals that would privatize it. The Social Security program is safe and has a $2.8 trillion surplus. It can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 19 years (and more than three-quarters after that).
Social Security’s assets aren’t “just paper,” as some pundits put it. Social Security invests in U.S Treasury bonds, the safest interest-bearing securities in the world. These are the same bonds wealthy investors have purchased, along with China and other foreign countries. These bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, which in our long history has never defaulted on its debt obligations.
One issues is that right now a billionaire pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $118,500 a year. That’s because there is a cap on taxable income that goes into the Social Security system. We can lift this cap so that everyone who makes over $250,000 a year pays the same percentage of their income into Social Security as the middle class and working families. This would not only extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years, but also bring in enough revenue to expand benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments; and lift more seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income seniors.
This modest change will extend Social Security's life for another generation of Americans. Not only is this the right thing to do from a moral perspective, it is also what the vast majority of the American people want us to do. 61 percent of the American people support expanding Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on taxable income, according to a 2016 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
I will also oppose any proposal to privatize Medicare, replace it with a voucher system, or simply shift costs directly onto seniors. Our first priority should be to maintain benefits and cut costs.